Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA: A Documentary History Narrative  
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Initial Doubts
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Pauling knew that Todd had been working with purified nucleotides and asked him to send samples for x-ray analysis. "Dr. Corey and I are much disturbed that there has been no precise structure determination reported as yet for any nucleotide. We have decided that it is necessary that some of the structure determinations be made in our laboratory. I know that the Cavendish people are working in this field, but it is such a big field that it cannot be expected that they will do the whole job." He then wrote his son Peter and Jerry Donohue that he was hoping soon to complete a short paper on nucleic acids.

But the structure still was not quite right. Everything would seem to fall into place, then Corey would run another set of calculations showing that the phosphates did not quite fit. Pauling would readjust and tinker, bend and squash, so close to the answer yet unable to make it all fit perfectly. Perhaps it would never be perfect. Perhaps what he had would have to do.

On Christmas Day Pauling took the unusual step of inviting a small group of colleagues into his lab to have a look at his work on DNA. He was tired of the niggling problems with his model and ready for some good news. He got it from his small audience, who expressed enthusiasm for his ideas. Much cheered, Pauling spent the last week of the year working with Corey on a final manuscript.

On the last day of December 1952, Pauling and Corey sent in their paper, "A Proposed Structure for the Nucleic Acids," to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was uncharacteristically tentative. This was "a promising structure," Pauling wrote, but "an extraordinarily tight one"; it accounted only "moderately well" for the x-ray data and gave only "reasonably satisfactory agreement" with the theoretical values obtained by the Crick formula; the atomic positions, he wrote, were "probably capable of further refinement."

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See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to D. P. Riley. January 8, 1953. 
See Also: Letter from Herbert Kahler to Linus Pauling. January 21, 1953. 
See Also: Letter from H. D. Springall to Linus Pauling. January 19, 1953. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to H.D. Springall. January 29, 1953. 

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Typescript - Page 1
"A Proposed Structure for the Nucleic Acids." November - December 1952.

Page 1
Letter from Linus Pauling to Herbert Kahler. January 15, 1953.

"You know how children are threatened, 'You had better be good or the bad ogre will come get you.' Well, for more than a year Francis and others have been saying to the nucleic acid people at Kings, 'You had better work hard or Pauling will get interested in nucleic acids.' I would appreciate very much a copy of 'your' article. The MRC Unit would like one too. They are very interested."

Peter Pauling
January 14, 1953
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