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“That is not only not right; it is not even wrong.” — Wolfgang Pauli (1900-58)
The quote refers to something being asserted or claimed that is not only in error, but demonstrates such complete misunderstanding and ignorance by the person making the claim that it would be a waste of time to seriously discuss. I am sure many of you can identify ideas and people falling into that category.
Pauli, one of many European theoretical physicists who immigrated to the United States after 1933, was known for his blunt comments. The closest contemporary description of a version of the quote is from a colleague’s remarks shortly after his death:
Quite recently, a friend showed him the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly ‘It is not even wrong.’