After he received his doctorate in Berlin in 1939, he habilitated in 1944 at the University of Göttingen, where he worked from 1944 to 1952 as a professor. In 1952 he followed then a professor at the University of Bonn, where he taught until 1981 and was director of the Physics Institute.
In the years 1964-1967 he was director of the Physics Department at CERN 1970-73 and Chairman of the Board at DESY (Hamburg). 1979 Paul was elected the third president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and held this office for ten years. In 1983 he was elected a corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.
He has from his first marriage to Liselotte Paul, born deer four children, Jutta and Regine and Stephen and Lawrence. He was married to the professor of medieval literature Doris Walch -Paul since 1979. Paul Stephan is Professor of Experimental Physics at the Technical University of Munich, Lawrence Paul is a professor of physics at the University of Wuppertal.
Wolfgang Paul was one of the signatories of the Göttingen Declaration.
Wolfgang Paul was a pioneer in the field of particle physics. His works include the areas of atomic and molecular beams, mass spectrometry, isotope separation, electron scattering in matter, radiation biology, dosimetry and electron beam therapy in medicine. In 1953 he developed with H. Stein Wedel the quadrupole mass filter (Paul cal mass filter ) for mass spectrometric measurements. The Paul trap, an ion trap developed by him, is named after him.
In 1989 he received along with Norman Foster Ramsey and Hans Georg Dehmelt the Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of the eponymous ion trap.
Other national and international awards have included honorary doctorates from the universities of Uppsala, Aachen, Poznan, Thessaloniki and Canterbury and honorary senator of the University of Bonn. Also in 1984, he Second Vice Chancellor, 1985 1992 First Vice- Chancellor of the Order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts, which he was a member since 1980. He received the Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Dirac Medal of the University of New South Wales and is the recipient of the Great Cross of Merit with Star. The German Physical Society (DPG ) awarded him in 1989 from the Robert Wichard Pohl Prize. He was also a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina - National Academy of Sciences elected.
Wolfgang Paul is patron of the Wolfgang -Paul- Study Prize ( German Society for Mass Spectrometry ) and the Wolfgang Paul Award, one of the most valuable academic honors in Germany, awarded by the Alexander -von- Humboldt Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF ). The Wolfgang -Paul- Medal of the University of Bonn is awarded to both academics as well as individuals who have made outstanding contributions in an intellectual or material way to the University of Bonn. In addition, a large lecture hall of the University of Bonn was named after him. From his estate the local Wolfgang Paul lectures are funded.
Until 24 August 2014, Deutsches Museum Bonn is to see a special exhibition on the pioneer of particle physics. The title of the exhibition is " Wolfgang Paul - The particle catcher ". Yet his life and work is presented chronologically. Also on display are part of the first European particle accelerator, which was based on his work. The 500MeV accelerator was from the late 50s to 1984 in Bonn in operation and is considered the forerunner of the DESY in Hamburg.