|Presidential Medal for Merit
In October 1948 Pauling stood with four other Caltech faculty members at a special
school ceremony where they were awarded Presidential Medals for Merit, the highest
civilian award given by the government. Pauling won the award for his wartime research
into explosives, rocket propellants, and artificial blood (during the War Pauling
had also invented an air-testing device for submarines and patented an armor-piercing
shell). The citation on his award, signed by Harry Truman, noted Pauling’s "imaginative
mind," "brilliant success," and "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance
of outstanding service to the United States." As he received this distinction, the
FBI’s investigation of his life, his associates, his family, and his work continued.
Click images to enlarge
Linus Pauling and Lee DuBridge receiving the Presidential Medal for Merit, California
Institute of Technology. October 4, 1948.
Presidential Medal for Merit. February 2, 1948.
"I am overcome with astonishment to learn that I am to receive the Medal of Merit
-- very pleased, of course; but I have not considered that my work justified the award.
I assure that nothing will interfere with my being present on Monday afternoon, October