Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Gustav Jung

C.G. Jung, 1955

After his mother's suicide in 1927 and his brief marriage to the Berlin dancer Käthe Deppner, which ended in divorce in late 1930, Wolfgang Pauli fell into a deep, personal crisis. On his father's advice, he consulted the famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung who arranged for an analysis by his assistant Erna Rosenbaum. A female analyst seemed advisable to Jung as he suspected Pauli’s fundamental problem was in his relationships with women. The dream analysis conducted by Erna Rosenbaum was followed by a two-year phase in which Pauli consulted Jung in person. Pauli broke off his consultations with Jung at the end of October 1934.

Marriage to Franca Bertram

Franca and Wolfgang Pauli

If a marriage had marked the beginning of Pauli's life crisis, it was with the help of an association, this time one that lasted, that helped him find his way out of it again. In April 1934 he married Franca Bertram. Wolfgang and Franca Pauli remained together in a childless marriage for the rest of their lives.

Ending the therapy did not for one moment mean that the relationship between Pauli and Jung had been broken off. Only then did they begin a lively exchange of letters in which they combined physics and psychology and sought common bases. The correspondence of the two eminent authorities in their respective fields was conducted at an exceptionally high level. The preoccupation with physics led Jung, starting out from Einstein's theory of relativity, to such important terms as that of synchronicity. On the other hand, Pauli made important findings on theoretical scientific questions from his preoccupation with Jungian psychology, especially in matters of symmetry and complementarity. In 1957 Pauli's direct contact with Jung ceased – perhaps out of consideration for Jung’s great age. Jung went on to survive Pauli by about two and a half years.