Thursday, August 26, 2010

Linus Pauling

For a really round-about work-related reason, I stumbled upon the Oregon State University archive of everything having to do with Linus Pauling.
Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling was a chemist during the time when it was most exciting to be a chemist. He won one Nobel prize (in chemistry) for his work on the chemical bond (fundamental, yes?) and another (for peace) for his activism against nuclear weapons. He did a lot of fabulous science, but until about a week ago, I knew him best as the CalTech scientist who proposed the wrong structure for DNA. (He proposed a triple helix, with the phosphates on the inside and the bases on the outside. Silly!)

At some point, someone at OSU ransacked his office and scanned everything they found, because this archive is chock full of cool stuff. Here are two of my favorites.

Chemistry is wonderful!This one appears to be rules set out for the Pauling children while the adults were away for a week.

Rules for others and itinerary


  1. Like you, I'd known of but didn't know much about Linus Pauling. Either you picked the two best pieces of ephemera, or he was a pretty fucking funny guy. What I really want to know is why he wrote down the "Chemistry is Wonderful" bit, and what he did with the piece of paper after he'd written it.

  2. You aren't curious about whether Jeff was fed?

    I just looked up his children: L.H. is Linda, who was 19; E.C. is Edward, who was 14. The drinking age was 21. They had two older children, 20 year-old Peter, and 26-year-old Linus Jr. No idea who Donald was, and how old he was at the time.

  3. I do like that the instruction is to feed Jeff "regularly." Seems a bit vague for a scientist.

    Also "No racing through the house" seems rather optimistic.