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|"Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist." 1977.
Produced for NOVA by Robert Richter/WGBH-Boston.
Solving the Structure of Crystals. (2:14)
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Linus Pauling: To get the Nobel Prize in chemistry I just..., just am trying to learn more about
the nature of the chemical bond. This interested me from the time I was 18 years old
in 1919 when there was very little known about it. What makes atoms stick together?
I wasn't interested in what makes atoms stick together in my body, that's much too
complicated a problem but if you look at a piece of metal like that plaque on the
wall, what makes the metal atoms stick to one another. Or if I think about what, what
makes the hydrogen atoms stick to the oxygen atom in water. There was very little
understanding, practically none, about the nature of the chemical bond then.
I attacked this problem and of course other people attacked it too. I attacked it
first by determining the structure of crystals by the diffraction of x-rays. This
was a new technique, ten years old when I began. Quite a number of structures had
been determined but there was a tremendous field open, a tremendous amount of work
that could be done. And then I determined the structure of gas molecules by electron
diffraction. And then, or even before that, I had become interested in the theory
of molecular structure, quantum mechanical theory of molecular structure. So with
my students I worked at, at this, this basic problem of molecular structure and chemical
bonding in a whole lot of ways. In 1931 I published a paper that clarified, oh, half
a dozen, or a dozen, important points, answered a lot of questions. And in 1932 and
'33 I published papers that answered more questions. And there are still questions
to be answered but a lot of clarification was introduced. So it was partially experimental
and partially theoretical.
ClipCreator: Linus Pauling
Clip ID: 1977v.66-bonda
Full WorkCreator: Robert Richter, WGBH-Boston
Associated: Linus Pauling, Ava Helen Pauling, David Shoemaker, E. Bright Wilson, Jr., Frank Catchpool
Copyright: More Information