This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Linus Pauling.
Oregon State University celebrates the Pauling Centenary with a diverse
array of events that honor Pauling’s many achievements and interests.
“Linus Pauling and the Twentieth Century”, a traveling exhibition that
portrays biographical, scientific, and humanitarian highlights of Pauling’s
long and productive life, was hosted at the Oregon Museum of Science and
Industry in Portland from January through the end of March. The Exhibition
is planned for the Boston Museum of Science this summer and fall. A commemorative
lecture, “Science and Conscience”, by John Polanyi, Nobel laureate in
chemistry, was given in February. The Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Lecture
in World Peace by Betty Williams, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize,
will take place in May, and the annual Linus Pauling Chemistry Lecture
is planned for later in the year.
A symposium on Pauling’s influence on science and society, “A Liking for
the Truth: Truth and Controversy in the Work of Linus Pauling”, was held
at OSU on Pauling’s birthday, February 28th. The keynote address, “Timing
in the Invisible”, was given by Dr. Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Chair
Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics at the California Institute
of Technology and 1999 Nobel laureate in chemistry. Other speakers included
two of Pauling’s biographers, Tom Hager and Dr. Robert Paradowski; Dr.
Jack Dunitz, a chemical crystallographer at the Swiss Federal Institute
of Technology; and Dr. Linus Pauling Jr., Linus Pauling’s eldest son.
Other events at the end of February included a reading of the biographical
play “The Essential Bond” about the relationship between Linus and Ava
Helen Pauling and the showing of two biographical films. A symposium on
structural biology on May 18th will celebrate the 50th anniversary of
the publication of the alpha-helix protein structure by Pauling, Corey,
and Branson. And as mentioned in the Fall/Winter 2000 newsletter, the
Linus Pauling Institute will convene a conference, “Diet and Optimum Health”
on May 16-19 in Portland.
Linus Pauling: A Centenary Celebration, edited by Cliff Mead and Tom Hager,
was published in January. The updated Pauling Catalogue and a two-volume
anthology of Pauling’s seminal scientific papers, edited by Linus Pauling’s
children and son-in-law, are scheduled for publication later this year.
A panel of experts was recently asked by the editors of Chemistry, published
by the American Chemical Society, to compile a list of the greatest and
most influential chemistry books. Linus Pauling’s The Nature of the Chemical
Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals was one of six books
receiving the most votes and the only book from the twentieth century.
Four of Pauling’s books are on the list, more than any other scientist.
In the November 23, 2000, issue of Nature, one of the premier scientific
journals in the world, Dr. Gautam Desiraju of the University of Hyderabad
in India contributed a millennium essay about Pauling entitled “The all-chemist”.
Desiraju praised Pauling’s astounding revolution of the science of chemistry
by noting that the “extrapolation from physics to chemistry and the articulation
of chemistry as an independent subject was the handiwork of a single individual.
Linus Pauling ranks with Galileo, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Newton, Bach,
Faraday, Freud, and Einstein as one of the great thinkers and visionaries
of the millennium.” Desiraju continued, “Chemistry, then, is utterly different
from physics and biology in its dependence, at a primal level, on just
one scientist.” Citing Pauling’s work on the nature of the chemical bond,
the hybridization of bond orbitals (a fundamental concept of organic chemistry),
electronegativity, metallic and hydrogen bonds, the structure of benzene,
molecular structure, and other concepts that form the basis for modern
chemistry, Desiraju proclaimed that Linus Pauling was “not of this age,
but for all time.”
Here at the Linus Pauling Institute, we heartily agree.
updated May, 2001