Reference Entry

Pauling, Linus Carl

Mark S. Lesney

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195082098
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:
Pauling, Linus Carl

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Pauling, Linus Carl (28 February 1901–19 August 1994), biochemist, physical chemist, and political activist, was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Herman Henry William Pauling, a druggist, and Lucy Isabelle Darling. Fascination with his father’s pharmacy sparked an early interest in chemistry, although Pauling himself attributed his decision to enter a career in science to observing a boyhood friend’s experiments with a chemistry set and to his fascination with scientists portrayed in novels. His father’s early death forced the family to survive by running a boarding house. From about age thirteen Pauling took various jobs, from delivery boy to movie projectionist, to help his family, while conducting chemistry experiments in a makeshift basement laboratory at home. He entered Oregon State Agricultural College (later Oregon State University) at age sixteen, without completing high school, to major in chemical engineering. There he met his future wife, Ava Helen Miller, while he was teaching undergraduate chemistry though still a student. In 1922 he graduated summa cum laude and then entered graduate school at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Pauling and Miller married in 1923; they had four children....

Reference Entry.  2657 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Medicinal Chemistry ; Biochemistry

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