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Linus Pauling

(1901—1994) American chemist

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US chemist, who was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on the nature of the chemical bond as well as the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on banning nuclear testing.

The son of a pharmacist, Pauling was educated at the Oregon State Agricultural College and the California Institute of Technology, where he gained his PhD in 1925. After two years on a postdoctoral fellowship in Europe, Pauling returned to CIT, where he served as professor of chemistry (1931–64). He went on to hold chairs at San Diego and Stanford, before taking up the directorship of the Linus Pauling Institute at Menlo Park in 1974.

Pauling's chemical reputation was established with his work during the 1920s and the 1930s on chemical bonding, which was summarized in his book The Nature of the Chemical Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals (1939). Pauling's other important work includes the study of such complex biological molecules as proteins and haemoglobin. In the former case he revealed, with R. B. Corey, in 1950 that in certain configurations protein molecules adopt a helical form; in the latter case, Pauling identified the abnormal haemoglobin present in patients with sickle-cell anaemia.

In 1962 Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded for a petition organized by Pauling in which 11 021 scientists signed a document proposing a multilateral ban on nuclear testing. Pauling also attained some renown as a result of his publication Vitamin C and the Common Cold (1970), in which he suggested that a daily dose of ten grams of vitamin C provides protection against colds. His last publications included How to Live Longer and Feel Better (1986).

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