Interviewer: Now Dr. Pauling, quite aside from this very detailed and broad scientific career,
you have always been a very outspoken person, and in the atmosphere of the United
States you have been a dissenter and a non-conformist, particularly applied to this
question of radiation hazards and fallout. Do you believe that this is a legitimate
aspect of your work as a scientist that it falls within the domain of science?
Linus Pauling: Oh yes. I think that it is important that scientists do their duty as citizens. I
think, in fact, that scientists have a greater obligation to formulate and express
opinions about the social and political matters in the modern world than non-scientists.
The modern world is what it is in considerable part because of the discoveries made
by scientists. It is the scientists who understand these aspects of the modern world
best, and because they understand it, their opinions have special significance. I
do not believe that scientists should just stay in their laboratories, do what they
are told, and speak only when they are spoken to. I think that scientists need to
take a part in the life of the community, the life of the world. And especially to
work along social and political lines.