|Coda: "A Very Pleasant Climax"
Linus Pauling became the epitome of a graceful loser. He gave Watson and Crick full
credit for their discovery, helped them tidy up a question about hydrogen bonding
across the chains, and then invited them to present and discuss their discovery at
an international protein conference he organized in Pasadena, in September 1953.
It was an historic occasion, a celebration of the great strides made during the previous
three years and a starting point for the new field of molecular biology.
Pauling was undaunted by his mistaken structure. He would go on to win the Nobel Prize
for Chemistry in 1954 for his entire body of work in structural chemistry, and then
become the first person in history to win two unshared Nobels when he became the surprise
winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Click images to enlarge
Group photo of participants in the Pasadena Conference on the Structure of Proteins. September 1953.
Oil painting of Linus Pauling. 1970s.
"Gradually DNA became better known. Paul Doty told me that shortly after lapel buttons
came in he was in New York and to his astonishment saw one with 'DNA' written on it.
Thinking it must refer to something else he asked the vendor what it meant. 'Get with
it, bud,' the man replied in a strong New York accent, 'dat's the gene.'"