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As a starting quantum physicist I am very interested in reasons why does Pauli's Exclusion Principle works. I mean standard explanations are not quite satisfying. Of course we can say that is because of fermionic nature of electrons - but it is just the different way to say the same thing. We can say that we need to antisymmetrize the quantum wavefunction for many electrons - well, another different way to say the same. We can say that it is because spin 1/2 of electron - but the hell, fermions has by the definition half-integral spin so it doesn't explain anything. Is the Exclusion Principle something deeper, for example in Dirac's Equation, like spin of the electron? I think it would be satisfying.

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2 Answers 2

I think that while these "explanations" are all dancing around the same pole, they aren't created equal. I think the meat is in the fact that nature has a local Lorentz symmetry, so we expect to be able to decompose things into representations of the group $SO(3,1)$. It's a mathematical fact that this group (or it's algebra, rather) has integer and half-integer representations.

Once you have this structure, then a few meagre assumptions about causality and unitarity lead to the Spin-statistics theorem. In order to understand the proof you'll need to first dig deeper into the representations of the Lorentz group, and how they label single-particle states.

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@CheshireCat Perhaps add that the last step is that the spin-statistics theorem shows that for half integer spin representations the quantum state for two particles with quantum numbers $\vec{x}$ and $\vec{y}$ (I include "position" in the quantum number vector) is antisymmetric wrt swap of arguments $\psi(\vec{x}, \vec{y}) = -\psi(\vec{x}, \vec{y})$ so that now if two particles have the same quantum numbers $\psi(\vec{x}, \vec{x}) = - \psi(\vec{x}, \vec{x})$. A further piece of trivia which I like to dwell on here: when we represent the algebra by half integer representations, we're ... –  WetSavannaAnimal aka Rod Vance Dec 30 '13 at 11:15
...actually representing the double cover $PSL(2,\mathbb{C})$ of the Lorentz group $SO(3,1)$, so you could say, with a slight strech, that the Dirac belt trick "proves" there are only bosons and fermions in the world. –  WetSavannaAnimal aka Rod Vance Dec 30 '13 at 11:18

It's an observed phenomenon, aka a "Law of Nature." You can't prove it, but you can show that the underlying math & "description" of the particle's behaviour is consistent with this law.

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