Linus Pauling, an accomplished professor, chemist, and two-time Nobel Prize winner, died at age 93 on his Big Sur ranch on Saturday. He was found in his home, having long suffered from poor health for the past several months.
Pauling was a native of Portland, Oregon where he received most of his formal education. He had a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon Agricultural College in 1922 and a doctorate in chemistry and mathematical physics from Cal Tech in 1925.
He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. His Nobel Prize for chemistry was for his work involving the nature of the chemical bond and the understanding of the structure of complex substances. His Nobel Peace Prize was for his crusade against nuclear weapons tests. He was best known for his advocacy of the use of Vitamin C as a preventative measure to ward off diseases, and that extra doses could extend normal life expectancy by 25 years.
Pauling’s interests and knowledge ranged from medicine to nuclear physics.
“I think one characteristic I have always had is that I knew something or did not, whether I understood something or did not understand it,” said Pauling, describing his scientific inquisitiveness in a 1993 interview. “And I wasn’t always happy if I didn’t understand something.”
He was a professor emeritus of chemistry at Stanford University. In addition to teaching at Stanford, he was an earlier faculty member at the California institute of Technology and the University of California, San Diego. He also taught at the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara. In 1973, he founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, which moved to Palo Alto in 1980. Henry Taube, a professor emeritus of chemistry and also a Nobel winner, said Pauling was the most influential chemist of the century.
His wife, Ava Miller Pauling, died in 1981 after 58 years of marriage. He is survived by his sister; four children, including Crellin Pauling of Portola valley; 15 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
We Honor Him
Memorial services will be held in the near future at Stanford Memorial Church.