Illustrating Science

Pastel drawing of the molecular structure of molybdenumdichloride. By Roger Hayward, 1964.

Pastel drawing of the molecular structure of molybdenumdichloride. By Roger Hayward, 1964.

[Ed Note: Of the thirteen books that Linus Pauling authored or edited, The Architecture of Molecules stands out as being very different. A slender volume of just over 100 pages, the 1964 publication consists almost entirely of beautiful and intricate pastel representations of molecular structures drawn by Roger Hayward and contextualized with short scientific descriptions authored by Pauling.  This is post 1 of 2 exploring the back story behind this unique book as well as its publication.]

It is not unusual to find pictures of Linus Pauling surrounded by three-dimensional molecular models or with drawings of molecules and their bonds covering his work space. Pauling believed that understanding the physical properties of molecules was crucial to understanding their chemical interactions. This guiding principle made Pauling an influential figure in his use of models and illustrations to explain the properties of substances.

Pauling’s 1947 textbook, General Chemistry, became a best-seller in part because because it presented novel new methods for teaching chemistry at the undergraduate level. The book incorporated quantum physics, atomic theory and real-world examples in explaining basic chemical principles, and a key feature of the text was that it used illustrations like nobody else had done before. Prior to the publication of General Chemistry, the properties of atoms and molecular bonding were described and taught in such a way that students were required to think abstractly about chemical reactions without a full understanding of the physical interactions that caused these reactions. General Chemistry changed all that.

From his high school years through his post-graduate studies, Pauling had experienced numerous approaches to teaching chemistry. Pauling, of course, had been asked to teach introductory chemistry while himself an undergraduate at Oregon Agricultural College, and it was during a similar stint teaching freshman as a graduate student at Caltech that Pauling began to devise a plan for his revolutionary textbook. He was certain that in this new project, illustrations and diagrams would serve an essential role in engaging students and helping them to understand the fundamentals of chemistry.

Luckily for Pauling, members of the Caltech faculty had already developed a close connection with an unusually skilled Pasadena artist, inventor and architect – Roger Hayward. His keen ability to illustrate scientific concepts in an accurate and accessible way made him the perfect choice to create the visuals for Pauling’s textbook.


Illustration by Roger Hayward of a high-vacuum apparatus as published in Procedures in Experimental Physics, 1938.

Illustration by Roger Hayward of a high-vacuum apparatus as published in Procedures in Experimental Physics, 1938.

A trained architect, Roger Hayward’s career path was unique, to say the least. A recent transplant from the East Coast when the Depression hit, Hayward was forced to expand his occupational enterprises well beyond architecture, as sour economic times dried up the building design market for several years running. While this was surely a difficult transition for Hayward, the period did grant him the opportunity to cultivate his creativity and his talents in many other fields of interest.

As he endeavored to make ends meet, Hayward’s artistic inclinations led him to explore broad new avenues, from painting to puppeteering. For a time, he even satisfied his interests in scientific experimentation by performing research in the field of optics and ballistics at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, studies which ultimately resulted in his attaining seven patents for optical devices and procedures. Indeed, Hayward had already made a place for himself in the sciences by the time that Pauling approached him with the offer to illustrate General Chemistry. Aside from his optics work, Hayward had already illustrated a number of scientific publications, including a textbook, Procedures in Experimental Physics.

The principal author of Procedures in Experimental Physics was Hayward’s close friend John D. Strong, a professor of physics and astronomy at Caltech. Strong felt comfortable collaborating with Hayward because he was very familiar with his friend’s interests in science and art, and he appreciated his strong aptitude in both disciplines. Procedures in Experimental Physics was a success, and both Strong and Hayward received good reviews for their work.

Buoyed by this strong critical reception, Hayward’s continuing interest and understanding of architecture, art and science positioned him well within the community of scientific illustrators. As with others, Hayward was adept at creating an aesthetically appealing yet technically precise illustration. But the trait that really set him apart was the pleasure that he took in researching the science behind his assignments. In many respects, Hayward was as much a scientist as he was an artist.


Roger Hayward, ca. 1960s.

Roger Hayward, ca. 1960s.

Published in 1938, Procedures in Experimental Physics marked the beginning of a new and prosperous chapter of Hayward’s unique career. During this period, scientific illustration would be the main focus of his energies, with architecture and the fine arts slipping well into the background. As his reputation grew, he found regular work with Scientific American, a popular science magazine, and was commonly sought out by professors at Caltech. It was during this time as well that Pauling became acquainted with Hayward. Not surprisingly, when Pauling needed to find an illustrator for his first college text book, his thoughts immediately turned to Hayward.

Working with Pauling, however, was not the same as working with John Strong. Strong had such a high appreciation for Hayward’s work as both a scientist and an artist that he split royalties on basis of space coverage. This meant that Strong assigned as much monetary value to Hayward’s illustrations as he did to his other co-authors’ written work. Strong’s perspective, however, was rather unique and when Pauling first asked Hayward to illustrate General Chemistry, he did not expect the illustrations to cost as much as Hayward billed.

Most scientists, including Pauling, believed that the training, research and experimentation from which a text results have more merit than do illustrations. Though he placed a premium on visual depictions, in Pauling’s mind it seemed fair to assign more value to the text than to the illustration. Pauling’s publisher, William Freeman of W.H. Freeman & Co., agreed with Pauling and referred to Hayward as “a bit of a prima donna” because he believed that Hayward overestimated the value of his work. In his correspondence with Pauling, Freeman also revealed that Hayward had regularly come into conflict with his firm over compensation issues. The company, however, continued to contract with Hayward simply because his illustrations were unsurpassed.

After settling their differences, Pauling and Hayward began to bond over their similar interests. By then, John Strong had taken a position in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University. His closest science-minded friend now on the other side of the country, Hayward increasingly came to use his connection with Pauling to further discussions on scientific advances.

Hayward’s background as an artist and architect also enabled his exploration of three-dimensional molecular models, a pursuit of special affinity for Pauling, and once again, the two began discussing each other’s ideas. Pauling suggested that Hayward use models to convey recent findings in structural chemistry, especially regarding crystal structure. Gradually, through many conversations, Pauling too came to recognize Hayward as a scientist, rather than merely a skilled artist.

A Major New Resource on Roger Hayward

The polymath Roger Hayward, a favorite of ours over the years, at last has a major web exhibit devoted to him that is worthy of his talents. At forty-three chapters long and containing some 432 images, Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man is now the authoritative resource on Hayward’s remarkable life.

For those unfamiliar with the Hayward story, here is some text from the official press release announcing the public launch of this exhibit.

Born in New England just before the turn of the century, Hayward attended the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors in architecture. Despite having built a reputation in the Boston area as a talented fine artist as well, Hayward and his wife moved to southern California in the late 1920s, lured by the offer of a position as Chief Designer at the Los Angeles-based Cram & Ferguson architecture firm.

With the stock market collapse of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, Hayward was forced to expand his skillset in order to make ends meet. His solutions to this dillema were an indication of the remarkable creativity that defined his professional life. For one, he crafted puppets and performed puppet shows in his home for a fee. He also built three looms for his wife Betty, whose resulting textiles were sold at local markets. Indeed, Hayward’s ingenuity resulted in numerous patent applications over the course of his life for products ranging from fountain pens to nut crackers to baby bassinets.

Over time, Hayward’s relationship with many scientists at the California Institute of Technology served to bolster his interest in the sciences. Hayward also worked on behalf of the United States government during World War II and became an expert on the subject of optics. He is now believed to have been a key contributor to the development of the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Following the war, Hayward built a reputation as a scientific illustrator of great import, providing visuals for Scientific American‘s “Amateur Scientist” column for nearly twenty-five years and collaborating with Linus Pauling on numerous publications including 1964’s The Architecture of Molecules, for which Hayward served as co-author.

The Roger Hayward Papers, upon which the exhibit is built, arrived in Oregon in circuitous fashion.  Our first contact with the collection came in 2004 during which time our staff was conducting copyright research for the website It’s in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia, which incorporated Hayward’s pastel drawings of both normal hemoglobin and sickled blood cells – drawings which reside in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.

(Among the highlights of the new Hayward exhibit are two galleries of his famous pastel drawings of molecules, most of which had never before been made available to the public.)

At the time, the collection resided with members of the Hayward family living in eastern Canada.  Impressed by the work that our department had done with the Pauling Papers and interested in adding to OSU’s corpus of materials related to Pauling, the family agreed, in 2009, to transfer the Hayward Papers more than 3,000 miles to our facility for final arrangement, description, preservation and access.

Page 1 of Hayward’s biographical scrapbook.

What arrived was a treasure trove of letters, drawings, photographs and notes of all kinds, including ideas for new inventions and materials developed for the Allied war effort.  Most extraordinary though was the Biographical Scrapbook that Roger meticulously kept over the course of his life.  Chock full of revealing newspaper clippings, photographs and even original art works, the seventy-four page scrapbook is a prized possession among our collections and served as the source material for much of what is presented on the Hayward exhibit.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

As it turns out, the Hayward family’s decision to donate Roger’s papers to Oregon State University was an inspired one, as the resource is among our more heavily used manuscript collections.  In there three years here, Hayward’s drawings have been used in both commercial and educational contexts, and researchers have traveled from as far away as Buffalo, New York and Berlin, Germany to use the collection.  Currently, work is on-going concerning Hayward’s moon models and his puppet theater production of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The entire experience has been immensely gratifying for us and we are pleased now to present a web exhibit that might spur further inquiry into the life of an extraordinary personality, a true Renaissance Man.

Dr. Ina Heumann, Resident Scholar

Ina Heumann

Dr. Ina Heumann, a historian of science affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, is the most recent individual to complete a term as Resident Scholar in the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections.  Heumann spent two months in Corvallis studying the Roger Hayward Papers and the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers as part of her on-going investigation into the connection between art and science with a specific focus on illustrated scientific texts.

From her study of the relationships built by Roger Hayward over his more than three decades as a scientific illustrator, Heumann found that significant tensions regularly arose between scientist and artist.  Without doubt, prominent among these tensions was the issue of money.  One striking example involved Hayward’s provision of a large bulk of illustrations to the publishing house W. H. Freeman & Co. for use in the first two editions of Pauling’s profoundly successful text General Chemistry.  While Pauling’s General Chemistry royalties in 1949 alone amounted to $5,000, Hayward received roughly $120.  Indeed, questions over just compensation for the value added by illustrations in scientific texts would dot Hayward’s long association with the Freeman company. And while both sides usually found room for compromise in their periodic bargaining sessions, the discussions were often acrimonious.

Of equal or even greater importance were issues of hierarchy and respect.  As many, including Heumann, have pointed out, Hayward was no ordinary illustrator.  For one, he thoroughly researched the science behind the instruments and processes that we was depicting; in that sense he “knew what he was drawing” on levels far beneath the surface.  At the same time, it was of vital importance to Hayward that his drawings be understandable and comfortable to the reader.  As he wrote

I try to put in enough familiar details so the reader will recognize them and feel on familiar ground.  Therefore I am careful to show more detail of glassware, for instance, than he really needs.

Despite the level of thought and attention that Hayward poured into his work, Heumann uncovered numerous instances in which Hayward was made to understand his place in the pecking order.  As most bluntly discussed by William H. Freeman in an important letter sent to Pauling in January 1953, Hayward was viewed as

a bit of a primadonna.  He has to be handled just so.  He thinks of himself as a professional person – which he is – who wants to be treated as such, rather than as a skilled craftsman.  Like all artists (and he is one of those, basically), he is a bit of a problem and [in] this case a bit of a genius.

Heumann argues that Hayward should more accurately be thought of as a “border crosser.”  In her Resident Scholar talk, she fleshed out this idea:

Hayward was architect, artist, craftsman, illustrator and inventor, not to mention his interest and competence in chemistry, optics, physics or mathematics.  However: The only formal degree he had was in architecture and technical engineering.  He was a self-made man, someone who loved to ‘get the books and dig the knowledge out’ by himself, as he once put it….Thus Hayward’s talent to serve as intermediate figure rooted at the same time on his deficiency: he was always in-between, being neither a scientist nor a mere illustrator, neither an educated expert nor just an average layman….Consequently, he was both needed and at the same time neglected.

It was this status as “border crosser” that lay at the heart of many of the creative and professional constrictions with which Hayward and his peers struggled throughout much of the twentieth century.

Hayward enjoyed a far more harmonious relationship with Scientific American magazine, whose “Amateur Scientist” column he illustrated for some twenty-four years.  Described by publisher Dennis Flanagan as “a marriage made in heaven,” Hayward’s partnership with the magazine proved fruitful for all parties involved.  The column, in particular, provided Hayward with an opportunity to stretch his intellectual wings given that he was, in essence, an amateur scientist himself.  And so it is that the illustrator regularly, in Heumann’s words,

contributed countless ideas and suggestions for improvements of the devices he had illustrated.  The letters were often literally published in the column, citing Hayward as an experienced expert of amateur science.  He illustrated and commented on questions like ‘How to measure the Metabolism of Animals,’ ‘Cloud Chambers and Detecting Nuclear Events,’ or how to construct inexpensive x-ray machines.

At their zenith, the “Amateur Scientist” columns were excellent examples of “scriptovisual documents” – documents that “can be read and looked at simultaneously.”  So too was the 1954 journal publication “The Structure of Protein Molecules,” authored by Linus Pauling, Robert Corey and Roger Hayward, and containing nine columns of text and nearly eighteen columns of drawings.

It is these sorts of scriptovisual documents, Heumann argues, that most directly prove the worth of the work done by individuals like Hayward.  For centuries drawings have enabled scientists to develop their own ideas in private and have likewise become essential to communicating complex information to a broader audience.  It was and remains morally and intellectually correct for scientific illustrators to place a premium on their work.  On the same token, the study of scientific illustration remains a tantalizing prospect for further historical examination.  As Heumann writes, “It becomes very obvious in the papers of Roger Hayward: behind the images is a story as worthy to be told as behind the texts.”

The OSU Libraries Special Collections Resident Scholar Program is supported by the Peter and Judith Freeman Fund. Past recipients have included Dr. Burtron Davis of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, Toshihiro Higuchi of Georgetown University, Dr. Mina Carson, professor of history at Oregon State University, Jane Nisselson, a documentary filmmaker based in New York City and Julia Bursten, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh.

“There is no substitute for doing things with your own hands.”

Self-portrait by Roger Hayward, ca. 1930s.

Self-portrait by Roger Hayward, ca. 1930s.

In the archival world, scrapbooks are typically regarded to be “high-value” items, deserving of close descriptive and preservation attentions.  As we work our way through the arrangement and description of the Roger Hayward Papers, we are reminded again as to why scrapbooks are held in such high regard.

Though the Hayward Papers consist primarily of correspondence and sketch books, the collection’s lone biographical scrapbook is especially noteworthy for its inclusion of dozens of photographs, newspaper clippings and original art works that are not otherwise replicated elsewhere in the collection.    Flipping through the pages, one is reminded that Hayward was much more than an illustrator noteworthy for having provided technical drawings for scientists the likes of Linus Pauling.


Portrait of Betty Hayward, Roger's wife of fifty-seven years.

Portrait of Betty Hayward, Roger's wife of fifty-seven years.

Weaving looms designed and built by Roger in the mid-1930s for Betty's use.  During the Depression, Betty's Navajo-inspired textiles helped contribute to the household income.

Weaving looms designed and built by Roger in the mid-1930s for Betty's use. During the Depression, Betty's Navajo-inspired textiles helped contribute to the household income.

Roger, Betty and Roger's brother Julian also constructed puppets and staged puppet shows at their house and at the Caltech Atheneum - another source of income during hard times.

Roger, Betty and Roger's brother Julian also constructed puppets and staged puppet shows at their house and at the Caltech Atheneum - another source of income during hard times.

Throughout his life, Roger maintained a keen interest in optics and would eventually hold four patents related to telescope design.  This is likely the first telescope that he built.

Throughout his life, Roger maintained a keen interest in optics and would eventually hold four patents related to telescope design. This is likely the first telescope that he built.


Hayward to Sara Ross, Sept. 16, 1967, p. 1.

Hayward to Sara Ross, Sept. 16, 1967, p. 1.

Hayward to Sara Ross, Sept. 16, 1967, p. 2.

Hayward to Sara Ross, Sept. 16, 1967, p. 2.

This two-page letter, written by Hayward in 1967 to a woman requesting career advice for her son, an aspiring artist, is a tidy example of Roger’s multiplicity of skills, including his facility with words.  His career advice, and perhaps his philosophy of life, is neatly encapsulated near the end of the document.

If there were available a course in ‘How to Learn’ it might be a good preparation for science illustrating.  A next best subject might be the History of Science.  I found ‘A History of Technology,’ edited by Singer Holmyard, Hall & Williams (Oxford, 1957) of some interest, at least through the first two volumes, but sense that the editors haven’t soiled their fingers by actually doing the things they write about.  There is no substitute for doing things with your own hands.

To learn more about Roger Hayward, see our blog series devoted to his life and work.

Blivets from Roger Hayward

The oft-reproduced fig. 6 from "Blivets - Research and Development," 1968.

The oft-reproduced fig. 6 from "Blivets - Research and Development," 1968.

Roger was always interested in the meaning and interpretation of art, vision, and especially color. As his vision started to fail, he resigned from professional work and started to tinker. One interest was the development of drawings and articles for the Worm Runners Digest, for which Roger authored many publications. The first and perhaps best-known is 1968’s “Blivets-Research and Development” (vol X, no 2) in which he constructs a number of pleasing but impossible diagrams. (Fig. 6 of this issue has been reproduced in a number of other publications. )

-from Roger Hayward (1899-1979): The Western Years, Part 2

Another example of Hayward's popular Blivets series.

Another example of Hayward's popular Blivets series, as published in Worm Runners Digest.


A note on Hayward’s moon model

Readers with an interest in Hayward’s incredible body of work are encouraged to read Kevin Kidney’s terrific blog post on the creation and eventual star turn of Hayward’s 50:1-scale moon model, (referenced here under “Pasadena Life”) commissioned in 1934 by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and eventually enlisted for use by the Disney company.  The exactness of the moon model and the Escher-esque whimsy of the Blivets above are a true testament to the envious diversity of skills with which Hayward was blessed.

Roger working on the Griffith model of the moon. (Los Angeles Public Library photograph, Security National Bank Collection).

Roger working on the Griffith model of the moon. (Los Angeles Public Library photograph, Security National Bank Collection).

Thingums from Roger Hayward: A Few Sketches

We are very pleased to announce that the Roger Hayward Papers are now part of the OSU Libraries Special Collections.  To commemorate the occasion, here are three sketches from Hayward’s notebooks.

Gothic sketches commissioned by Cram and Ferguson, 1926.

Gothic sketches commissioned by Cram and Ferguson, 1926.

In 1925, Hayward moved to Cram and Ferguson, a well-known Boston architectural firm specializing in gothic design. Cram and Ferguson were working on the New York cathedral, St. John the Divine, and Roger did a number of architectural designs and renderings of the north face.  He also did similar artistic renderings for the two World War I military cemeteries in France at Aisne-Marne and Oise-Marne for which Cram had commissions. Ralph Cram sent Roger and his wife Betty to Europe in 1926 to examine and sketch many classical buildings and to see “real Gothic structure”. During the trip, Roger filled sketchbooks with his carefully-rendered drawings and color studies.  This “inspection trip” would be valuable in developing ideas for many of the later California architectural projects. Although his trip was confined to Italy, France and England, one of the sketch books opens with a watercolor drawing of the Hagia Sophia in “Constantinople.”

-extracted from Roger Hayward (1899-1979): Architect, Artist, Illustrator, Inventor, Scientist

Commercial Radio Ads, undated.

"Commercial Radio Ads," undated.

"Chaperone?," undated.

"Chaperone?," undated.

Roger worked “for the fun of it”. He was a curious individual and was satisfied when he discovered or exhibited something new. In this regard he was a true dilettante, but a brilliant one.

-extracted from Roger Hayward and Linus Pauling

Much more on Roger Hayward is available here.

A Thingum from Roger Hayward

Pastel drawing of a compound of Molybdenum Dichloride. Drawing by Roger Hayward, 1964.

Pastel drawing of a compound of Molybdenum Dichloride. Drawing by Roger Hayward, 1964.

Mother was an artist’s daughter. I was expected to draw just as I was expected to eat or talk or anything else, and I wasn’t praised for the results.

I decided on architecture because I hoped that it would provide a balanced diet of aesthetics and mechanico-science. The diet is short on science, and so my hobbies in later years have tended towards science.

During this period (‘38-‘39) I had R.M. Langer of Cal Tech tutor me in modern atomic theory. I gave him a painting for his effort.

– Roger Hayward, letter to “Doc” C.L. Stong, editor of Scientific American and Amateur Scientist.  December 22, 1950.

Roger Hayward, who illustrated many of Linus Pauling’s publications and enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with many Caltech scientists, liked to refer to “thingums” in various discussions.  The Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections is the future home of the Roger Hayward Papers. In celebration of this event, over the coming months we will be posting a variety of short “thingums” in an effort to bring forth the unique talents of this man who excelled as an artist, architect, engineer and scientist.

Much more on Roger Hayward is available here.

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