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Interview with Linus Pauling

Pauling, Linus (1984) Interview with Linus Pauling. [Oral History] (Unpublished)

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Interview in 1984 with Linus Pauling, professor of chemistry emeritus. He recalls his instructorship in quantitative analysis at Oregon Agricultural College at age 18. To Caltech for graduate study, 1922. As preparation, Arthur Amos Noyes sent him proof sheets of Noyes's new book, Chemical Principles. Studied X-ray crystallography with Roscoe G. Dickinson. Gave seminar on Debye-Huckel theory of electrolytic solutions for visiting P. J. W. Debye. Recollections of Noyes (then chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering), Dickinson, and Ralph W. G. Wyckoff. Discusses X-ray crystallography and its history. Recollections of Gilbert N. Lewis, Caltech's rivalry with Berkeley. Paper with Richard C. Tolman on residual entropy of crystals; recalls courses with Tolman. Offer of professorship at Harvard in 1929 and MIT c. 1930. Death of Noyes (1936) and Pauling's appointment as chairman of chemistry division (1937). Remarks on Biology Division and advent of Thomas Hunt Morgan (1928). Work on hemoglobin in mid-1930s. Remarks on Karl Landsteiner and immunology. Lectures on "complementariness" as basis of biological specificity; paper with Max Delbruck. Projected book on the molecular basis of biological specificity, to be called The Nature of Life. Recollections of Albert Tyler and George W. Beadle. Comments on relations with Warren Weaver and Rockefeller Foundation. Discusses work on protein structure and discovery of alpha helix. Discusses his reasons for leaving Caltech in 1963 and the attitude of Caltech president Lee DuBridge and John Roberts, then chair of the chemistry division. Recalls his resignation of division chairmanship in 1957; attitude of trustees toward his politics; his efforts to raise money to defend colleague Sidney Weinbaum. Recalls being badgered by Lawrence Spivak on Meet the Press in 1950s. Comments on quantum mechanical theory of resonance and the chemical bond. Comments on Center for Study of Democratic Institutions.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Pauling_L
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Chemistry
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ID Code:18
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:22 Oct 2002
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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