In the fall of 1927, a newly hired professor — tall and energetic, with a beautiful
young wife and an abundance of self confidence — arrived at the California Institute
of Technology near Los Angeles. His name was Linus Pauling.
He came fresh from Europe, where he had spent more than a year on a Guggenheim Fellowship
participating in a scientific revolution.
He did not know it, but he was about to start another at Caltech. During the next
twelve years he would reshape the study of chemistry, lay the groundwork for molecular
biology, write one of the most important books in scientific history and define the
nature of the chemical bond. In 1954 he would win a Nobel Prize for his work.
But first he had a class to teach.
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Linus Pauling holding Linus Pauling, Jr., Europe. 1927.
Letter from Henry Allen Moe to Linus Pauling. March 9, 1927.
"When I was in Europe...I received a letter from A. A. Noyes saying that he was writing
to offer me an appointment as 'Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry and Mathematical
Physics,' and I accepted it, but by the time that I got here it had been changed to
'Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry' . . . I don't know what happened with
the physics, whether Millikan objected to my having a joint appointment or whether
Noyes decided . . . [Noyes] was preventing me from going to Berkeley, and he may have
decided that he didn't want me associated with the physics department in this way,
that perhaps I would shift."