Lucy Mensing: Forgotten Pioneer of Quantum Mechanics

In 1925 a young postdoc, Lucy Mensing, came to Göttingen to do research with matrix mechanics, which had just been formulated. In the following years she did groundbreaking work. She successfully made the first application of the new theory to diatomic molecules. As a by-product of this work, she was the first who found that from the allowed integer or half-integer quantum numbers of angular momentum, only the integer ones apply for orbital angular momentum. Pauli, being impressed by her clear and masterful treatment of the problem, invited her to work with him on the polarizability of gases. In my contribution I will sketch the pioneering work of Mensing and give a brief account of her life and her career, which ended in 1930 after she married and started a family.

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Tobias Galla

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