Linus Pauling was a major scientist and Nobel laureate of the 20th century. In his studies, he devoted himself to completely different topics: from chemistry and physics to the peace movement to philosophy and medicine.
His life path
Linus Pauling came from a German immigrant family and was born on February 28, 1901, the son of a pharmacist in Portland (Oregon, USA). From 1917 to 1927 he devoted himself to the study of chemistry, physics and mathematics and received his doctorate in 1925 as a doctor of philosophy. During his studies Pauling worked as part of a scholarship in Europe, including with Niels Bohr together. He then became Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Technology at the California Institute for Technology. Throughout his life, Pauling lectured at many well-known universities around the world, including Stanford and the Berlin Humboldt University.
Pauling's early scientific interest was the study of crystals and molecules. For his research in these fields, especially the study of the structure of biomolecules, he received in 1954 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In addition, Pauling also dealt with the X-ray analysis, electron diffraction and quantum mechanics.
The way to the Nobel Peace Prize
In the course of his career, Pauling also devoted more and more humanitarian issues. Having received the United States Medal of Merit in the Office of Scientific Research and Development after the Second World War, he became a determined enemy of the war and an active member of the international peace movement.
Reason for the change of attitude were the great destruction caused by the release of the American nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a petition signed by 11, 000 scientists from around the world in 1958 he called for the immediate cessation of all nuclear weapons experiments. In 1962, Linus Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize for his participation in the conclusion of the nuclear test agreement. To date, he is the only award winner to receive two undivided Nobel Prizes.
Pauling and the medicine
The last years of his life, Linus Pauling dealt with medicine and especially with the effect of vitamin C. In particular, he explored the application of the drug in cancer treatment. In his tests, which he also performed on himself, the patients treated with vitamin C had less pain and a longer life span.
Linus Pauling died on August 19, 1994 at the age of 93 years of prostate cancer on his California ranch.