Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics

Front Cover
One of the most important and controversial scientists and public figures of our time, Linus Pauling was, for many, a universal hero. He was the first Scientist ever to win two unshared Nobel Prizes - one for science and one for peace - and when he died on August 19, 1994, newspapers across the country carried front page stories detailing his extraordinary achievements.
This book, the first biography since his death, traces Pauling's long and exciting life. His brilliant insights in applying quantum mechanics to complex molecules, for which he was awarded his first Noble Prize, played a pivotal role in the development of the modern field of chemistry. He did more than any other scientist to establish the new science of molecular biology.
The book covers Pauling's fascinating personal life, from his boyhood on the Oregon frontier, throught the death of his father when Linus was nine, his rebellion against his mother who opposed his going to college, and his long and happy marriage to his college sweetheart, Ava Helen. By the time Pauling was in his twenties, he was already a world-famous scientist.
But he was also a committed political activist, willing to put aside his own research to work for what he felt was right. During World War II, he designed a new oxygen meter for airplanes and submarines and a synthetic blood plasma for medical emergencies. In the 1950s, he heroically fought against McCarthyism and successfully campaigned to stop nuclear testing. He paid a price scientifically for his activism, however. Denied a visa at a key point in his research on DNA, and therefore unable to profit from related research being conducted in England, he published an erroneous model just months before Crick and Watson released their findings.
Based on interviews with Pauling's relatives and teachers going back to the 1960s, this book offers unprecedented access to his life. But it does not shy away from his faults. It chronicles his final controversial crusade against the medical establishment, in which he advocated vitamin C as a treatment for everything from the common cold to cancer. And it examines the conflicts at the Linus Pauling Institute, including his apparent betrayal of Arthur Robinson, a promising young scientist who was once his closest collaborator and disciple.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LINUS PAULING: A Life in Science and Politics

User Review  -

A comprehensive but simplistic biography of the scientist, activist, double Nobel laureate, and controversial public figure. Ted Goertzel (Sociology/Rutgers Univ.) enlisted the help of his son, a ... Read full review

Linus Pauling: a life in science and politics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Pauling's scientific career spanned nearly the entire 20th century, from his revolutionary Nobel Prize-winning theories on the chemical bond to his controversial work on orthomolecular medicine and ... Read full review


End of Childhood 19D11913
Hidden Patterns 19221925
An Extraordinarily Productive

5 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1995)

Ben Goertzel is a lecturer in cognitive science at the University of Western Australia.

Bibliographic information