Five More Years of Pauling

We are pleased to announce the release of five new years of the Linus Pauling Day-by-Day project, which attempts to document every day of Pauling’s life. With this release, thirty-seven years of Pauling’s activities, interactions and travels have been meticulously recorded in our online calendar, a mammoth resource now featuring an amazing 188,027 activity listings and supplemented with 2,299 scanned documents and 2,942 full-text transcripts. The transcripts include family letters as well as selected documents (mostly correspondence) used as illustrations for the Day-by-Day project and for the various Pauling Documentary Histories.  As with the first Nobel year, 1954, we have attempted to provide an illustration for every day of 1963, while other years receive an illustration for every week.

Our most recent addition is comprised of the years 1963-1967, a particularly tumultuous time for Pauling. In 1963 Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in petitioning against the testing of nuclear weapons. Internationally, Pauling was celebrated for his activism, while at home in the United States he was attacked by for his leftist politics – a phenomenon that, in part, led to his move from the California Institute of Technology to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.  The tumult of the era also led to his participation in several libel lawsuits filed against an array of American media outlets.

Pauling did not, however, allow the trouble at home to distract him from his activism. Instead, he used the fame afforded by the Peace Prize to draw attention to the question of nuclear disarmament. He traveled extensively through North America, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Australia, Latin America and India, lecturing on the need to achieve global nuclear disarmament and lasting peace, and cementing his relationships with fellow peace activists.

In the years following his receipt of the Peace Prize, Pauling returned to theoretical chemistry and, in 1965, he announced his close-packed-spheron theory of the structure of atomic nuclei. In the mid-1960s he also collaborated with Emile Zuckerkandl on a study of proteins as records of molecular evolution, published a revised and abridged edition of The Nature of the Chemical Bond, and continued serving as an informal bridge between the general public and the scientific community.

While naturally documenting the important moments in Pauling’s life, the Day-by-Day calendar also serves as a window into Pauling as a person – one which documents the strain of conflicting political pressures, the effects of age on him and his wife, and his ever-exacting personality.

Begun in 1999, Linus Pauling Day-by-Day is an ongoing project with work on 1968-1970 already well underway. For a detailed look at past milestones as well as the technical mechanics of this ambitious undertaking, please see our series of past writings on the project.

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