“I consider that the field of work in which Dr. Pauling is engaged, namely the study of the chemical bond and of valence from the standpoint of modern physics, is the most important line of research in theoretical chemistry today; and I venture to believe that there is no one in the world who in the same degree has the chemical background and at the same time has the physical knowledge, mathematical power, and originality required for the handling of this problem.”
– A. A. Noyes. Letter to William Foster. October 15, 1931.
For the next month, the PaulingBlog will proudly feature a newly-updated website devoted to Linus Pauling’s research on the nature of the chemical bond. “Linus Pauling and the Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History” includes over four hours of audio tracks and video snippets, more than 2,500 manuscript pages, a chronological narrative that details the story of Pauling’s research, and nearly 100 photographs and illustrations.
The site discusses the beginnings of Pauling’s structural chemistry studies, the importance of quantum mechanics, the development and publication of “Pauling’s Rules,” and Pauling’s eventual receipt of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, granted for “research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of complex substances” and the first chemistry prize awarded for a body of work, rather than one singular discovery.
The Narrative feature of the website has been designed with an eye toward leading users through Pauling’s research in a logical and accessible fashion. The narrative provides a series of links showcasing important or interesting documents, materials related to the achievements and contributions of Pauling’s colleagues, and media integral to understanding the evolution of the chemist’s view of the chemical bond.
The unique Linus Pauling Day-by-Day calendar is likewise included. For the entirety of the 1930s as well as Pauling’s first Nobel year (1954), Linus Pauling Day-by-Day provides an organized overview of Pauling’s correspondence, containing summaries of the thousands of letters and papers that document the daily life of the scientist, his colleagues and his family.
Users may note that “Linus Pauling and the Nature of the Chemical Bond” may also be used in conjunction with the Linus Pauling Research Notebooks website as a means of accessing a more comprehensive series of documents related to Pauling’s structural chemistry research.
Finally, in technical terms, it is worth adding that the revised and expanded “Linus Pauling and the Nature of the Chemical Bond,” which was originally launched in slimmer form in 2004, is the second of the OSU Special Collections documentary history websites to operate on a METS/MODS-driven platform. A future post on the PaulingBlog will describe this back-end process in much greater depth.