The Life of Linus Carl Pauling

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Linus Carl Pauling was born in Portland, Oregon, on 28th February, 1901, the son of a druggist, Herman Henry William Pauling, and his wife, Lucy Isabelle Darling.

Linus attended the public elementary and high schools in the town of Condon and the city of Portland, Oregon. When he was 15 he was a senior and had enough credits to attend Oregon State College (OSC) but did not have enough for two American History courses required for his high school diploma. In June 1916, he left high school without his diploma.

He entered the OSC at the age of 16, receiving the degree of B.Sc. in chemical engineering by the time he was 21. In 1919 and 1920 he served as a full-time teacher of quantitative analysis in the State College, after which he was appointed a Teaching Fellow in Chemistry in the California Institute of Technology and was a graduate student there from 1922 to 1925, working under Professor Roscoe G. Dickinson and Richard C. Tolman. In 1925 he was awarded the Ph.D. (summa cum laude) in chemistry, with minors in physics and mathematics.

Pauling was famous for many things and improved many theories but did not make any discoveries of his own. He wrote many papers and the subjects of the papers he published reflect his amazing scientific versatility. He published about 350 publications in the fields of: experimental determination of the structure of crystals by the diffraction of X-rays and the interpretation of these structures in terms of the radii and other properties of atoms; the application of quantum mechanics to physical and chemical problems, dielectric constants, X-ray doublets, momentum distribution of electrons in atoms, rotational motion of molecules in crystals, Van der Waals forces, etc., the structure of metals and intermetallic compounds, the theory of ferromagnetism; the nature of the chemical bond, including the resonance phenomenon in chemistry; the experimental determination of the structure of gas molecules by the diffraction of...
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