Linus Pauling and The Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History Narrative  
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Quantum mechanics, as the physicist Victor Weisskopf later noted, had finally united the two great fields of physics and chemistry. By using the rules of the new physics to explain the bonding of atoms into molecules, Slater and Pauling consummated the marriage. The physicists had been right: Electrons moved in their orbits, they did not sit still on dry goods boxes. But in very important ways, the chemists, especially G. N. Lewis, had also been right. Electron orbitals were concentrated in certain directions, and bonds resulted from sharing electrons. Slater and Pauling showed how the physicists' new quantum principles resulted, logically and with at least approximate mathematical validity, in the molecules seen by chemists.

The importance and novelty of Pauling's work was underscored when his first paper was published just six weeks after being received by the JACS, a surprisingly short time compared to the normal waiting period of several months. Pauling was later told that the journal's editor, Arthur Lamb, could not think of anyone qualified to referee it and ran it without review.

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Audio Clip  Audio: The Golden Era of Chemistry. 1977. (5:12) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Letter from Arthur Lamb to Linus Pauling. February 26, 1931. 

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Page 1
Letter from Linus Pauling to Arthur B. Lamb. February 11, 1931.

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"The Carbon-Oxygen Bond." 1931.

"I was just as pleased to be Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry but pretty soon, when I became Professor in 1931, I said I wanted to have the title of Professor of Chemistry -- not theoretical chemistry...not physical chemistry...just Professor of Chemistry."

Linus Pauling
March 27, 1964
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