Linus Pauling was an American theoretical physical chemist and activist. He remains one of the greatest chemists ever, and the only person in history to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes; in 1954 for studying the nature of the chemical bond, and in 1962 for his efforts regarding the prohibition of nuclear testing. His contributions to quantum chemistry and molecular biology are considered revolutionary and created a universal impact.
Early Life and Education:
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1901 to a pharmacist father, Linus Pauling acquired his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis (now Oregon State University), where he also worked as a lecturer for about one year. Pauling received his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California; he took chemistry with minors in mathematics and physics.
Contributions and Achievements:
Linus Pauling traveled across Europe studying the physics of atomic structure at several universities. He also met many pioneers of atomic theory. Pauling soon developed an interest in examining the atomic structure of complex biological molecules by using X-ray crystallography.
Pauling accepted a teaching position at the California Institute of Technology, where he remained for the rest of his career. He analyzed chemical bond structure at the place. Pauling worked on the development of explosives, gas detectors and missiles for US Navy during World War II.
He later worked on examining the chemical bonds that compose proteins. The results he produced are still considered as the fundamental rules of biochemistry and have influenced several useful biotechnology applications. He was awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the determination of chemical bonds and its application related to the structure of biological molecules.
Pauling also received the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts. He frequently brought out controversial scientific theories. He maintained moral positions regarding a few scientific issues.
Later Life and Death:
Linus Pauling actively campaigned for social progress and humanitarian concerns such as public health and health promotion. In the last few years of his life, he furthered the health benefits of vitamin C in combating disease. Pauling died in 1994 of prostate cancer in Big Sur, California.