Eight Years of the Pauling Blog

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This week, we celebrate the eighth anniversary of the founding of the Pauling Blog.  We began this project in March 2008 to announce the release of a postage stamp and, in the years that have followed, we have published over 560 posts and written well-over 500,000 words.

The scope, mission, and workflow propelling the Pauling Blog have changed mightily since spring 2008, and our audience has steadily grown year-over-year, to the tune of nearly 120,000 views in 2015. We expect that a few people have been following this project since its inception, but for the many more who are relative newcomers to the Pauling Blog, we thought we would mark today’s anniversary by calling attention to eight posts or posting series that we put together in our very early years.

  1. Roger Hayward (series). This collection of posts, run in April and May 2008, eventually morphed into a much larger project detailing the life and work of the remarkable man who illustrated many of Pauling’s publications, and did quite a bit more beyond that.
  2. The Guggenheim Trip (series). Published in June 2008, this series marked our first foray into fairly detailed original research.  Those who know Pauling’s story will also know that the 1926-27 Guggenheim trip was critical to his future successes as a structural chemist.
  3. A Halloween Tale of Ice Cream and Ethanol.” Released on Halloween day 2008, this lighthearted post actually provides some pretty interesting insight into Pauling’s personality – he truly never stopped being a scientist.
  4. Oregon 150 (series). The state of Oregon celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2009, and the Pauling Blog participated by researching specific aspects of Pauling’s life in and association with the Beaver state.  Though most of these posts were released in 2009, our keen interest in exploring Pauling’s relationship with Oregon continues to this day – forty-six posts are now categorized under the heading, “Pauling and Oregon.”
  5. Linus Pauling and the Search for UFOs“. This post appeared on May 11, 2009 and became the source of a good amount of attention.  A sequel of sorts was released last year as part of our examination of Pauling’s years at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
  6. Pauling’s Theory of Anesthesia. (series) Another batch of early original research of which we remain proud. Over time, the Pauling Blog has placed greater emphasis on exploring components of Pauling’s work that are admittedly more tangential, and thus under-researched by his stable of biographers. His theory of anesthesia, which occupies a single solitary box in the Pauling Papers, certainly fits that description. The anesthesia posts were published in June 2009.
  7. The Pauling Chalkboard. (series) Those who have visited the reading room of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at Oregon State University’s Valley Library will likely have seen and taken a moment to ponder Pauling’s chalkboard, which is on permanent display in our facility.  Countless visitors over the years have asked us to decipher Pauling’s annotations on the board, and in December 2009 we finally got around to conducting a rigorous analysis of the board’s contents.
  8. Pauling’s Life-Threatening Kidney Disease. (series) In 1941 Pauling was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, a kidney condition that, at the time, was basically a death sentence.  The approach that Pauling took to treating his disease is insightful on many levels: 1) that it worked; 2) that it was arguably his first experience of orthomolecular medicine; 3) that the physician who saved his life likely would have been blacklisted for his political views, had he himself lived long enough; and 4) the crucial role played by Ava Helen Pauling in nursing her husband back to good health. The nephritis series was released in March 2010, right around the time of the blog’s second birthday.

As always, thanks for your continued readership.  We’re glad to say that we have plenty more in store for 2016.

Pauling Stamp, 2008

The postage stamp that started it all…

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