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|"Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist." 1977.
Produced for NOVA by Robert Richter/WGBH-Boston.
The Joy of Discovery. (1:44)
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Linus Pauling: I like thinking and for some reason it pleases me to feel that I have a thought that
no one else has ever had before. Sometimes these thoughts aren't especially important
ones. I ran across a rare mineral called sulvanite, a copper vanadium sulfur, which
is found in very few places in the world. I went to Washington, D.C. to the Geological
Survey and met a man, a geologist, a mineralogist, who had a small sample, a few crystals
of this rare mineral, sulvanite. It had been, well I was able to get these from him
and, practically the world's supply. For a while, I carried them around with me feeling
pleased that I had this supply. Then, when, with one of my students I determined the
structure of sulvanite. The structure turned out to be quite different from what I
had predicted for it. For the first time, a sulfur atom, instead of directing its
four bonds toward the corners of a regular tetrahedron, the way the carbon atom does
in diamond and methane and most carbon compounds, it directed three bonds in three
of these directions and the fourth one in the backward direction, right in between
these three. This was an astounding discovery and I was pleased to think for a while
now nobody knows, nobody else in the world knows that there is this odd sort of sulfur
atom in the world.
ClipCreator: Linus Pauling
Clip ID: 1977v.66-joy
Full WorkCreator: Robert Richter, WGBH-Boston
Associated: Linus Pauling, Ava Helen Pauling, David Shoemaker, E. Bright Wilson, Jr., Frank Catchpool
Copyright: More Information