Interesting New Pauling-related Podcast and Video

Cliff Mead, Head of the OSU Libraries Special Collections, Dr. Linus Pauling and Pauling biographer Tom Hager.  OSU campus, 1991.

Cliff Mead, Head of the OSU Libraries Special Collections, Dr. Linus Pauling and Pauling biographer Tom Hager. OSU campus, 1991.

Chester Bateman, a researcher in the Oregon State University College of Education, has made available an interesting new Pauling-related podcast as part of the College’s Grassroots Learning Project.  The 33-minute podcast, which features Pauling biographer Tom Hager as well as two students from Corvallis, Oregon’s Linus Pauling Middle School, was recorded in tandem with Hager’s keynote presentation on the opening night of da Vinci Days, Corvallis’s annual celebration of art, science and technology that marked its twentieth anniversary this past July.

In the podcast Hager provides fascinating insight into both Pauling’s life as well as the details — and numerous surprises — that defined Hager’s long process of interpreting the sprawling Pauling biography for the printed page.

Among the revelations that Hager uncovered during his year of work in the Pauling archive was the scientist’s method of training himself to dream about scientific problems.  In Hager’s words, Pauling’s “mind was working all the time, 24-7.”

The  many other topics that Hager discusses include the major role that Ava Helen Pauling played as role model, confidant and working colleague to her world famous husband.  As Bateman notes, a plaque has been placed in Education Hall, marking the location where Linus Pauling and Ava Helen Miller first met.

As part of his da Vinci Days coverage, Bateman also provides a link to a 3-minute youtube video produced by the Linus Pauling Institute which features LPI administrative officer Steve Lawson discussing the contours of Pauling’s scientific research and peace activism.

Increasingly, the archival profession is being compelled to cope with a large influx of content that is “born digital” — email and digital photographs, for example — rather than recorded on a “hard” medium like paper or videotape.  While this societal shift away from “hard copies” does pose major challenges for archives and special collections, it likewise has created significant new opportunities to provide remote access to many different types of content.

In a manner similar to the work that Bateman is carrying out, OSU Libraries Special Collections has recently focused on expanding its multimedia offerings.  In 2008 alone, over twenty-two hours of fully-transcribed video — including two talks by Tom Hager — have been released on the department’s Special Events website, with plans for much more in the works.


2 Responses

  1. Robert Paradowski of the Rochester Institute of Technology is indeed Linus Pauling’s “official biographer,” in the sense that Pauling provided Paradowski with close-to-full access to his personal papers beginning in the 1970s. Paradowski also interviewed Pauling many times for his project — a three volume work that has yet to be published. ( A fascinating 1995 talk by Paradowski is available here: )

    All of this said, Pauling likewise worked closely with Hager in the writing of “Force of Nature” — a project begun in the early 1990s. While perhaps not the “official biographer,” Hager’s work was far from unauthorized. Hager discussed his experiences writing the Pauling biography at the same 1995 conference referenced above. The video is available here:

  2. […] where special collections staff keep me apprised of new projects, products and all things Pauling. Today, for example, the blog highlighted a podcast by a Pauling biographer and a YouTube video produced […]

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