Linus Pauling and The Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History Narrative  
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Hooks and Eyes
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Hooks and eyes: That was the description of bonds between atoms that Pauling learned when he was an undergraduate at the Oregon Agricultural College. Each atom had a certain number of hooks that allowed it to attach to other atoms, and a certain number of eyes that allowed other atoms to attach to it. A chemical bond (a bond between atoms that held them together as molecules) resulted when a hook and eye connected.

This described a bond, but it explained very little. At least it took into account the century-old ideas of the great English chemist John Dalton, who in the early nineteenth century theorized that atoms — which came in distinct sizes, called elements — combined with other atoms in simple whole-number proportions to form larger molecules. As is known today, two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom join to form water, four hydrogens and one carbon form methane, and so forth. The element’s combining capacity or "valence" — its number of hooks and eyes — was set somehow by nature. But no one knew why elements combined in just these proportions, or what forces held them together.

Linus Pauling intended to solve these mysteries by applying the new physics he had learned in Europe.

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Audio Clip  Audio: Chemists Develop their Methods. 1977. (4:48) Transcript and More Information

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Video Clip  Video: Lecture 1, Part 4. 1957. (6:05) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to the Research Fellowship Board of the National Research Council. December 28, 1925. 
See Also: Hitchcock Foundation Lectures: "The Development of the Concept of Chemical Bond." January 17, 1983.  Clip: Memories of Working at Oregon Agricultural College. (1:25)

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Linus Pauling and his friend Paul Emmett. 1920.


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Notes on fourteen 1921-1922 Oregon Agricultural College physical chemistry students, including Linus Pauling. 1961.

"I can remember that I was asked, perhaps when I was a junior, if I would give some lectures in the evening for students who were having trouble in freshman chemistry . . . I can remember presenting chemical bond theory on the 'hook-and-eye' basis . . . [When] I ran across the papers by Langmuir which were published that year . . . I was very impressed by this work on the electronic structure of molecules or ideas about shared electron pair bonds, and it may well be that that was the start of my interest in chemical bonding."

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