Linus Pauling

On this date in 1901, Linus Pauling (né Linus Carl Pauling) was born in Portland, Ore. A popular figure, peace activist, humanitarian as well as scientist, Pauling is the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes: Chemistry (1954) and Peace (1962). He earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1922, and received his Ph.D from Caltec in 1925 in chemistry, with minors in physics and math. Pauling joined the Caltech faculty in 1927. His interest lay in the field of molecular structure and the nature of the chemical bond. He is considered the founding father of molecular biology. But his research was interdisciplinary, including human physiology and health (he is famed for recommending oral doses of Vitamin C). "The only sane policy for the world is that of abolishing war," Pauling said in accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace for 1962. The award recognized his 6-year campaign to persuade the United States, Great Britain and the USSR to sign an antitesting treaty. Minimizing suffering was the key to ethics, he believed. He was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association in 1961. The unorthodox and outspoken scientist was a Unitarian for many years. D. 1994.

“It is sometimes said that science has nothing to do with morality. This is wrong. Science is the search for truth, the effort to understand the world; it involves the rejection of bias, of dogma, of revelation, but not the rejection of morality.”

—Linus Pauling, Scientist for the Ages (oregonstate.edu)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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