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The Attempted Proof of the Spin-Statistics Theorem
by Jacobus deWet

Jacobus deWet was born in Orange Free State in South Africa, the grandson of an Afrikaner general in the Boer War. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to go to Oxford and then went on to graduate work at Cambridge and finally getting his Ph.D. in mathematics at Princeton for a dissertation in mathematical physics. He went back to South Africa for an academic career at Capetown and then Pretoria. He then spent a couple of year teaching at Oxford before returning to South Africa as an administrator in science.

DeWit's dissertation at Princeton was entitled, "On the Connection between the Spin and Statistics of Elementary Particles." The introduction to his dissertation begins as follows:

The purpose of this dissertation is to study the connection between the spin and statistics of elementary particles. The study of this problem was started by Pauli, who attempted to show that the scalar wave equation did not admit Fermi-Dirac quantization. His work was incorrect, the result he expected to find has turned out to be correct.

DeWit published the material of his dissertation as an article in the Physical Review in 1940. Duck and Sudarshan in their book Pauli and the Spin-Statistics Theorem judged deWit's work to be fifteen or so years ahead of its time.

(To be continued.)


Ian Duck and E.C.G. Sudarshan, Pauli and the Spin-Statistics Theorem,, World Scientific, Singapore, 1997.

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