Saturday, December 23, 2006

Linus Pauling

Who's the supernerd to the left you ask? This is Linus Pauling, one of my top three favorite scientists of all time. Yup, I realize I'm a supernerd too. But listen to what this guy did during his lifetime:

He was born in 1901 and went to college at Oregon State University to study chemistry. The semester after he took Quantitative Analysis, the school invited him to teach the class. He went on to research the link between structures of different substances and their physical properties. His important discoveries helped found the emerging field of quantum chemistry. He also advanced the science of X-ray crystallography, a very important tool for determining chemical structures.

In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research done on the nature of chemical bonds. Along with his major contributions to the fields of physics and chemistry, he made massive contributions to the field of biology. He was the first to suggest that proteins were made primarily of alpha helices (think DNA) and beta sheets. He also discovered that sickle cell anemia was a molecular disease involving hemoglobin.

After World War II, he was deeply moved to warn people about the harms of nuclear weapons. He protests led him to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, making him the only person ever to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes.

C'mon, now tell me that's not cool...

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