Linus Pauling, Noted Chemist, Two Time Nobel Prize Winner Dead at 93

Pauling is considered by many to be the greatest chemist of the Twentieth Century
Pauling is considered by many to be the greatest chemist of the Twentieth Century

Linus Pauling a two-time Nobel Prize winner has died at his Big Sur ranch at the age of 93 yesterday after being in frail health for several months.

He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. His Nobel Peace Prize was for his crusade against nuclear weapons tests. His Nobel Prize for chemistry was for work into the nature of the chemical bond and the understanding of the structure of complex substances.

A native of Portland, Ore. Pauling received 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 was best known for his advocacy of the use of vitamin C as a preventive measure to ward off diseases such as cancer. “Pauling was the most influential chemist of the century,” said Henry Taube, a Stanford professor emeritus of chemistry and also a Nobel winner.

He founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in 1973. The institute moved to Palo Alto in 1980 where he was a professor emeritus of chemistry at Stanford University.

In addition to teaching at Stanford, Pauling was a faculty member earlier at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, San Diego, and taught at the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara.
In a 1993 interview, Pauling described his scientific inquisitiveness: “I think one characteristic I have always had is that I knew whether I knew something or did not, whether I understood something or did not understand it. And I wasn’t always happy if I didn’t understand something.” His interests ranged and knowledge ranged from medicine to nuclear physics.

Pauling accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962
Pauling accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962

He had long maintained
that extra doses of vitamins, including vitamin C, can extend the normal life expectancy by 25 years.

He is survived by a sister; four children, including Crellin Pauling of Portola Valley; 15 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held in the near future at Stanford Memorial Church.

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