Roald Hoffmann is the 2012 Pauling Legacy Award Winner

Today marks the 111th anniversary of Linus Pauling’s birth and what better way to mark the occasion than by announcing the recipient of an award named after Dr. Pauling?

Dr. Roald Hoffmann, chemist, educator, author and Nobel laureate, is the seventh person to be given the Linus Pauling Legacy Award, which is granted every other year to an individual who has achieved in an area once of interest to Linus Pauling.  The award is sponsored by the Oregon State University Libraries.

As part of the celebration marking Hoffmann’s acceptance of the decoration, he will be delivering a free public lecture in Portland, OR.  Here are the details

What: “Indigo – A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science and Culture,” free public lecture by Dr. Roald Hoffmann

Where: Embassy Suites Hotel – Colonel Lindbergh Room, 319 SW Pine Street, Portland, Oregon

When: Thursday April 19th, 8:00 PM

Seating is limited and we suggest that individuals or groups interested in attending reserve seats.  To do so, please contact the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at 541-737-2075 or special[dot]collections[at]oregonstate[dot]edu.

A renowned speaker and writer, Roald Hoffmann is best known within scientific circles for his work in applied theoretical chemistry. With Kenichi Fukui, he received the 1981 Nobel Chemistry prize “for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions.” As with Linus Pauling before him, much of Hoffmann’s career as a chemist has been devoted to determining the structure and properties of large molecules and to communicating these characteristics to both professional colleagues and students alike.

Hoffmann has likewise contributed significantly to improving science education for the general public. He participated in the production of a popular television program titled “The World of Chemistry” (1990) and has published a number of books written for the lay science enthusiast. Hoffmann has also made his mark as an author of fiction through the release of numerous collections of poetry as well as three plays. One theatrical production, “Oxygen,” was co-written with chemist Carl Djerassi and has been performed in ten languages worldwide.

Characteristic of a man with many interests, Hoffmann’s Legacy Award talk promises to be wide ranging in nature.  Here is the abstract of what we can expect on April 19th:

One way to see the role of a desirable blue pigment, indigo, in world culture, is that it has served remarkably to intertwine craft, fashion, religion, power, and science. Even if some people would like to keep them separate. The story begins with the prescription by the Hebrews in Numbers of a blue pigment for ritual use (and its role in a critical biblical rebellion), the parallel story of Tyrian purple and its uses in the Roman world, continues with the animal and plant sources of that pigment worldwide, the historical loss of the art of making snail indigo, on to chemistry and blue jeans. Some observations on the relationship of science and religion will emerge along the way.

Born in Zloczow, Poland in 1937, Roald Hoffmann is a survivor of the Nazi occupation of eastern Europe. He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia College in 1958 and his Ph. D. from Harvard University in 1962. He has received numerous honors, including over twenty-five honorary degrees. He is the only person ever to have received the American Chemical Society’s awards in three different specific subfields of chemistry – the A. C. Cope Award in Organic Chemistry, the Award in Inorganic Chemistry, and the Pimentel Award in Chemical Education.

The Pauling Legacy Award is granted every other year to an individual who has contributed to an area once of interest to Linus Pauling.  Past recipients have included Nobel laureates Joseph Rotblat, Roderick MacKinnon and Roger Kornberg, as well as Harvard University biologist Matthew Meselson and Caltech chemist John D. Roberts.

The Linus Pauling Legacy Award medal.