Yesterday, February 28, 2010, Linus Carl Pauling would’ve been 109 years old. And we’d all be better off he were still with us since, by all accounts, even a doddering Pauling could’ve run rings around most folks intellectually. One of four human beings ever to have been awarded multiple Nobel Prizes, and the only one ever to have won both the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1954) and the Nobel Peace Prize (1962), Pauling’s 1939 Nature of the Chemical Bond remains one of the most influential chemistry texts ever published. And his 1947 General Chemistry, available in its classic 3rd edition through Dover Publications for a song, remains one of the best-written and most readable introductions to the subject. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for his instrumental role in scientific activism to end above-ground nuclear weapons testing. A complete list of Pauling’s accolades could, and has, filled several books, but I can’t resist mentioning, in closing, that geek ubermensch Linus Torvalds is reportedly named after him.
Maker Birthdays: Linus Pauling