Dr. Linus Carl Pauling


An American chemist and physicist whose investigations into the structure of molecules led to discoveries of how chemicals bond. He was born in Portland Oregon on February 28, 1901.

His parents encouraged his scientific interests from the beginning. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, where he later taught and carried out his research from 1927-1964. It was during this time that he made many of his discoveries.

During the 1920's he revolutionized chemistry with his application of quantum physics to the study of chemistry. He was interested in the study of crystal structure, theory of electrolytes, statistical mechanics, and the nature of the chemical bond.

During the 1930's, Dr. Pauling introduced concepts that helped reveal the bonding forces of molecules. He devised such techniques as X-ray and electron diffraction, which enabled him to calculate the interatomic distances and angles between chemical bonds.

During the 1940's, Dr. Pauling turned his attention to the study of organic substances, especially proteins. He and his colleagues succeeded in producing synthetic antibodies and eventually develop a substitute for blood plasma. In 1949, his investigation of the atomic structure of proteins led to the discovery that cell deformity in sickle-cell anemia is caused by a genetic defect that influences the production of hemoglobin.

In 1951, Dr. Pauling and Robert B. Corey described the atomic structure of proteins for the first time. Their work had tremendous implications for the struggle against disease. He later studied the effects of radiation on the environment and the human population. He became convinced of the irreparable damage this would cause and turned his interests to educating the public about the hazards of radiation. He campaigned for peace and in 1957 drafted a petition calling for an end to the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. He collected the signatures of 11,021 scientists from all over the world. This led to the first Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

In 1970, he recommends, in his book Vitamin C and the Common Cold, large doses of Vitamin C to combat colds and their symptoms. His research into the effects of vitamins and other nutrients in preserving health and fighting disease have led researchers to take a closer look at the benefits they possess. In 1973, he founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine where he continued his research and was able to educate the public on the dangers of smoking and the benefits of vitamins.

In 1993 Dr. Pauling lent his name to support a groundbreaking new line of vitamin products. These vitamins are formulated according to his scientific principles of nutrition.

During his lifetime he received numerous prizes and medals. He is the only person to have received two unshared Nobel Prizes; the first one was in 1954 for his work in chemistry, and the second was the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. He also was awarded the Presidential Medal for Merit and the National Medal of Science. He died on August 19, 1994 at the age of 93.




Collier's Encyclopedia, Volume 15. © 1955 P.F Collier and Son Corporation New York

Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation.

Dr. Linus Pauling Biography http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/pau0bio-I


Christine Fuller


Back to HOME