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Quotes by or related to Linus Pauling


"I do not know who is responsible for this un-American act. The people in Pasadena and the surrounding region are, in general, intelligent and patriotic. I have, however, come in contact with a few people who do not know what the Bill of Rights is and what the Four Freedoms are and what the principles are for which the United Nations are fighting. I suspect that the trespass on our home was carried out by one or more of these misguided people who believe that American citizens should be persecuted in the same way that the Nazis have persecuted the Jewish citizens of Germany and the conquered territories."
Linus Pauling. "Vandals Victimize Scientist's Home Where Nisei Employed," Pasadena Independent. March 7, 1945.


"It was made apparent to me that Military Intelligence considers practically all members of the Federation of Atomic Scientists 'potentially subversive,' if not actually so. Membership in the ICCASP, especially the worst section -- the Hollywood section -- is a definite indication of being a Communist or fellow traveller -- 'or both.' It was also equally obvious that Military Intelligence is of the opinion that pretty nearly all scientists would bear constant watching."
David B. Tyler. Letter to Linus Pauling. August 18, 1947.


"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 4."
Linus Pauling. Letter to Lee DuBridge. September 21, 1948.


"The problem of an atomic war must not be confused by minor problems such as Communism versus capitalism. An atomic war would kill everyone, left, right, or center."
Linus Pauling. "The H-Bomb or Peace," sponsored by the National Council of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, New York. February 13, 1950.


"Do you think that an American who insists on making up his own mind, who objects to being told what to do, to being pushed around by officious officials, is thereby made un-American? I do not. I think that he is being more American than people who do not object."
Linus Pauling. Letter to the Board of Regents, University of Hawaii. March 30, 1951.


"None of the faculty at Cal Tech feel that Pauling is actually a Communist, but have characterized him as a diluted [sic] exhibitionist and pointed out that his constant desire to see his name in print has caused Cal Tech a great deal of grief."
Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Report on Linus Pauling." October 17, 1951.


"He deserves the laurels he has received from the communists, and the fact that he is an atomic physicist in one of our leading universities on the west coast is something to think over seriously. The recent condemnation by Moscow of Dr. Pauling’s celebrated 'resonance theory' in chemistry does not seem to have dimmed his ardor on behalf of Stalinite causes."
Louis Budenz. "Do Colleges Have to Hire Red Professors?" American Legion magazine. November 1951.


"The fact that independent minds like you are being rebuked equally by official America and official Russia is significant and, to a certain degree, also amusing."
Albert Einstein. Letter to Linus Pauling. May 21, 1952.


"In connection with Dr. Pauling's many memberships on Communist fronts, I was officially advised a number of times in the...Forties, that he was a member of the Communist Party under discipline. The Communist leaders expressed the highest admiration and confidence in Dr. Pauling."
Louis Budenz. Testimony before the House Select Committee on Foundations. December 23, 1952.


"I made one great mistake in my life, when I signed a letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made."
Albert Einstein. Recounted by Linus Pauling in a July 28, 1969 letter to Ronald W. Clark. November 16, 1954.


"The whole apparatus of using loyalty-security hearings for working off personal political spite has been firmly established as a part of our 'way of life' and I do not see anything happening yet to loosen the hold of this machinery on us."
Edward Condon. Letter to Linus Pauling. September 8, 1955.


"I say that hundred of thousands of people have had or will have their lives cut short by perhaps ten years, twenty years because of the bomb tests that have already been made."
Linus Pauling. "Linus Pauling Address," Jimmy Jones Recording Studios. June 4, 1957.


"I believe that there is a greater power in the world than the evil power of military force, of nuclear bombs -- there is the power of good, of morality, of humanitarianism."
Linus Pauling. No More War! New York: Dodd, Mead and Co. 1958.


"Science is the search for truth -- it is not a game in which one tries to beat his opponent, to do harm to others. We need to have the spirit of science in international affairs, to make the conduct of international affairs the effort to find the right solution, the just solution of international problems, not the effort by each nation to get the better of the other nations, to do them harm when it is possible."
Linus Pauling. "A Nobel scientist speaks: Every test kills..." Liberation (New York) 2, no. 11. February 1958.


"This alleged damage which the small radioactivity is causing –- supposedly cancer and leukemia –- has not been proved, to the best of my knowledge, by decent and clear statistics. It is possible that there is damage. It is even possible, to my mind, that there is no damage; and there is the possibility, further, that very small amounts of radioactivity are helpful."
Edward Teller. "Fallout and Disarmament: A Debate Between Linus Pauling and Edward Teller," KQED television, San Francisco, California. February 20, 1958.


"Our ultimate end must be precisely what Dr. Pauling says, peace based on agreement, upon understanding, on universally agreed and enforced law. I think this is a wonderful idea, but peace based on force buys us the necessary time, and in this time we can work for better understanding, for closer collaboration."
Edward Teller. "Fallout and Disarmament: A Debate Between Linus Pauling and Edward Teller," KQED television, San Francisco, California. February 20, 1958.


"Peace cannot be obtained by wishing for it. We live in the same world with Russia, who's leader has said he 'wants to bury us' -- and he means it. Disarmament, the cessation of tests, will not automatically bring us closer to peace."
Edward Teller. "Fallout and Disarmament: A Debate Between Linus Pauling and Edward Teller," KQED television, San Francisco, California. February 20, 1958.


"You can trust a nation to adhere to any agreement for so long as that agreement continues to benefit the nation concerned. So long as they themselves can benefit, they will continue to adhere to an agreement. The entire world would benefit by an agreement to suspend nuclear explosions -- and would continue to benefit from such an accord."
Linus Pauling. "Pauling in Interview Lays Bare Dangers of Continued H-Bomb Tests", by Chas. R. Allen, Jr., UE News. June 23, 1958.


"Hiroshima does not call itself the Atomic City....because it is not honorable but rather disgraceful, both for those who dropped and those who were dropped. On the contrary, what Hiroshima City is at least proud of is that the city...has come to stand out from the ashes of the atomic bomb, not as a city of hostility and revenge, but as a city of peace and reconciliation."
Tatsuo Morito. "Speech text for greeting Dr. Linus Pauling." August 5, 1959.


"Dear Dr. Pauling, Will you be so kind as to stay off precipitous cliffs until the question of disarmament and atomic testing is finished? A needy citizen."
Marlon Brando. Telegram to Linus Pauling. February 1960.


"I am astonished that in the United States a scientist gets into such trouble because of his scientific beliefs; that your activity in 1957 and 1958 in relation to the petition to the United Nations asking for a bomb-test agreement causes you now to be called before the authorities and ordered to give the names of the scientists who have the same opinions that you have and who have helped you to gather signatures to the petition. I think that I must be dreaming!"
Albert Schweitzer. Letter to Linus Pauling. July 23, 1960.


"It was difficult for me to decide that I would refuse to give the names of the people who had returned signatures to me....I had about two hours to think about this matter...during the lunch period. I thought about the fate of the people who had invoked the First Amendment in refusing to conform to the demands of investigating committees, and of the possibility that I would go to jail....I finally decided that I had to decide in such a way as to permit me to keep my respect for myself."
Linus Pauling. Letter to Chauncey Leake. September 29, 1960.


"The danger is not from peace or from the workers for peace, or from the circulators of petitions urging international law and international agreements. It is from the stockpiles of nuclear weapons that exist in the world."
Linus Pauling. "Testimony of Dr. Linus Pauling," Hearing Before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. October 11, 1960.


"There are other professors and scientists who are in jail for having used the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of speech. If you invoke the Fifth Amendment instead, you don’t get sent to jail, you just lose your job."
Linus Pauling. "The War Against War -- Personal Attack and the Attempt to Smear the Peace Movement," interview conducted by Virginia Mill and Robert Carl Cohen. November 2, 1960.


"If you want to suppress any movement or any organization in the USA you accuse them of being 'pro-Communist' or 'infiltrated' with Communism."
Linus Pauling. "The War Against War -- Personal Attack and the Attempt to Smear the Peace Movement," interview conducted by Virginia Mill and Robert Carl Cohen. November 2, 1960.


"There’s no doubt that we have in this country a very powerful group of people, 'defense contractors,' so-called, who are profiting greatly from the military activities, and who will oppose international agreements that lead to a decrease in the military budget."
Linus Pauling. "The War Against War -- The Enemies of Peace: Cold War Profiteers, Politicians and the Press," interview conducted by Virginia Mill and Robert Carl Cohen. November 2, 1960.


"I know that no rational person, no sane person would work to initiate a nuclear war, but accidents can happen of one sort or another. A hydrogen bomb might accidentally explode. Or some step might be taken by some persons who are not sane, and there are a large number of these people. In the United States ten percent of the people who are born spend at some time during their lives a period in a mental hospital. This represents the incidence of mental disease. And we can’t be sure that everyone who is in a position of responsibility is really sane."
Linus Pauling. "The War Against War -- The Fight for an A-Bomb Test Ban," interview conducted by Virginia Mill and Robert Carl Cohen. November 2, 1960.


"We are spending in the world a large share, on the order of magnitude of 10 to 15 percent, of our national income, of world income, in a nonproductive way that doesn’t benefit the people, on armaments."
Linus Pauling. "The War Against War -- World Crisis, Possible Solutions, The Atomic Future," interview conducted by Virginia Mill and Robert Carl Cohen. November 2, 1960.


"Communists may represent a threat to our civil rights and liberties that we should be aware of and prepared to guard ourselves against if it ever becomes serious... [but] the anti-Communist forces of repression that are now in positions of great authority are more than a threat -- they are taking our rights away from us right now."
Linus Pauling. Letter to Donald Harrington. November 11, 1960.


"What, more petitions! Won't you be, and stay, intimidated? You must really annoy Sen. Dodd. Here it is [my signature], and I hope it does some good."
Edward Condon. Letter to Linus and Ava Helen Pauling. January 17, 1961.


"If there were nobody in the world but politicians, I would feel that there was no hope for mankind, no hope for civilization, no hope for the world."
Linus Pauling. No More Hiroshimas! Robert Carl Cohen, producer. August 6, 1961.


"My own estimate is that all of the people in the United States would be killed in a nuclear war, if we do not build fallout shelters, and that if we do build them and train the American people, all of the American people would be killed in a nuclear war."
Linus Pauling. "Why I am opposed to fallout shelters." Liberation, (New York) 6. November 1961.


"On many questions I have a better understanding of the issues than any politicians. If [Secretary of State] Dean Rusk had studied science as much as I have studied world affairs then I would consider him qualified to determine U.S. nuclear policy."
Linus Pauling. "Linus Pauling -- Interviewed", by Martin H. Wiener. 1963.


"We think of this honor as an indication of the rightness of our position during these many years. You know, of course, my husband would have preferred to have remained quietly in his laboratory thinking about his scientific problems. However, people are more important that scientific truths."
Ava Helen Pauling. Letter to Victoria Orellana. 1963.


"This was good news, to many who are strangers to you, but even more to those who are not. It is good to think of you in the company of George Marshall and Albert Schweitzer."
Robert Oppenheimer. Letter to Linus Pauling. October 11, 1963.


"On May 15, 1957 Linus Pauling made an extraordinary speech to the students of Washington University....It was at this time that the idea of the scientists' petition against nuclear weapons tests was born. That evening we discussed it at length after dinner at my house and various ones of those present were scribbling and suggesting paragraphs. But it was Linus Pauling himself who contributed the simple prose of the petition that was much superior to any of the suggestions we were making."
Edward Condon. Speech titled "The 1962 Nobel Peace Prize," presented at the Unitarian Church, Boulder, Colorado. October 20, 1963.


"No one would suggest that the nuclear test ban is the sole work of Linus Pauling. But does anyone believe that the treaty would have been reached if there had been no responsible scientists who, tirelessly, unflinchingly, year in and year out, impressed on the authorities and on the general public the real menace of nuclear tests?"
Gunnar Jahn. "Linus Pauling on Science and Peace (1962 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture), with an introduction by Gunnar Jahn." New York: Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. 1964.


"There came in February the issue of Life saying on the cover "Dr. Teller Refutes 9000 Scientists"... I wrote to Life and said first that Teller hadn’t refuted 9000 scientists and second I felt that they should publish the article that I had written... They sent the article back and said that they didn’t want it and then I offered it to Look. The editor of Look called me and said they couldn’t get into a controversy with Life. Then I offered it to the Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies Home Journal and Readers Digest and none of them were interested in it. And then I thought, ‘What shall I do? I’ll have to write a book and see if I can’t get it published.’"
Linus Pauling. Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics, by Ted Goertzel, et al. August 24, 1965.


"Future generations should...not be deprived of their share of the world's natural resources. Some of these resources are inexhaustible. An example is sunlight. We may convert some of the energy of sunlight into electric power, which, after doing useful work, is finally converted to heat and warms the Earth, as it would have done if it had not been converted to electric power. The sun will continue to shine for future generations, whether we use it for electric power or not. Solar energy, like energy obtained from the wind or tides, does not rob future generations."
Linus Pauling. "What Should Be Our Goals?" Senate Committee on Government Operations, Hearings on "Our Third Century: Directions," Washington, D.C. February 6, 1976.


"I suppose that I am responsible to some degree for Linus’s deciding to put so much of his effort into peace activities. In talking with him, I said I thought that it was of course important that he do his scientific work. But if the world were destroyed, then that work would not be of any value -- so he should take part of his time and devote it to peace work."
Ava Helen Pauling. NOVA Interview. June 1977.


"My estimate was that the 600 megatons of testing that had been done up to 1963 would in the course of time cause fifteen million children to be born with gross physical defects who would otherwise have been normal, and would cause about 15 million cases of cancer that would not have occurred otherwise. So if you test one twenty-megaton bomb, that would be at the sacrifice of one-thirtieth of those numbers. That would be 500,000 unborn children, 500,000 cases of cancer per twenty-megaton bomb tested."
Linus Pauling. NOVA Interview. June 1977.


"It seemed to me that he felt so alienated from the whole department of chemistry that he went ahead and moved in this dramatic way. But once again, ever mindful of everyone else, he worked hard for weeks to make sure that every single one of his associates was taken care of, including myself."
Frank Catchpool. NOVA Interview. June 1977.


"Mrs. Kennedy said, 'Dr. Pauling do you think that it is right to march back and forth out there in front of the White House carrying a sign and cause Caroline to say, 'Mummy, what has Daddy done wrong now?'' I thought that was pretty clever."
Linus Pauling. NOVA Interview. June 1977.


"Ava Helen had been interested in social, political and economic problems ever since she was a teenage girl. She used to argue with a friend of the family, one of the judges of the Oregon State Supreme Court. She had a general interest in science and was very able, very smart, but she was really concerned about human beings. The humanistic concern she had was very great. I'm sure that if I had not married her, I would not have had this aspect of my career -- working for world peace."
Linus Pauling. NOVA Interview. June 1977.


"Scientists have an important role to play in the creation of conditions for a secure and peaceful world, but I do not believe that scientists alone can achieve the goal."
Linus Pauling. No More War! (25th Anniversary Edition), New York: Dodd, Mead and Co. 1983.


"We have learned...that the pressure exerted on the end of the piston in the engine of an automobile is the result of bombardment by the trillions...of molecules in the hot gas. The contribution of each molecule is very small, relative to the total pressure exerted, but if each molecule were to decide that it was unimportant the engine would not operate. In the same way the success of a mass movement depends upon the participation of individual human beings in exerting pressure toward the goal."
Linus Pauling. "The Duties of a Graduate," Commencement Address, Rutgers University -- Cook College, New Brunswick, New Jersey. May 27, 1983.


"When that program came to an end, Spivak took off down the hall, running as fast as he could go, with my wife after him, waving her fists. I guess she had a hard time restraining herself during the program. But he managed to escape."
Linus Pauling. Oral history interview conducted by John L. Greenberg, California Institute of Technology Archives. May 1984.


"Most scientists had stopped. I could understand that. I could understand why some thought it was just too much of a sacrifice. They knew they could lose their jobs. They might not be able to continue their scientific work. I felt the same way, but I kept on in order to retain the respect of my wife."
Linus Pauling. "The Deeply Personal War of Linus Pauling," Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1985.


"For years I devoted more than half my time, perhaps, to giving hundreds of lectures [on peace]... But in the earlier years, especially to studying international affairs and social, political and economic theory to the extent that enabled me ultimately to feel that I was speaking with the same authority as when I talked about science. This is what my wife said to me back around 1946, that if I wanted to be effective, I’d have to reach the point where I could speak with authority about these matters..."
Linus Pauling. Interview with Wayne Reynolds, American Academy of Achievement. November 11, 1990.


"When the atomic bomb was dropped at Hiroshima and then at Nagasaki, I was immediately asked, within a month or two...to give a talk...about atomic bombs. My talk, as I recall, was entirely on what the atom is, what the atomic nucleus is, what nuclear fission is... A couple of days after my talk, there was a man in my office from the FBI saying, ‘Who told you how much plutonium there is in an atomic bomb?’ And I said, ‘Nobody told me, I figured it out.’ And he went away and that was the end of that."
Linus Pauling. Interview with Wayne Reynolds, American Academy of Achievement. November 11, 1990.


"Originally it was a petition by American scientists, but eventually it became a petition by world scientists. I think it was about nine thousand that...my wife and I gave to Dag Hammarskjöld, and ultimately about thirteen thousand scientists all over the world had signed this petition."
Linus Pauling. Interview with Wayne Reynolds, American Academy of Achievement. November 11, 1990.


"The McCarthy period came along...and many of the other scientists who had been working on these same lines gave up. Probably saying ‘Why should I sacrifice myself? I am a scientist, I am supposed to be working on scientific things, so I don’t need to put myself at risk by talking about these possibilities.’ And I have said that perhaps I’m just stubborn... I don’t like anybody to tell me what to do or to think, except Mrs. Pauling."
Linus Pauling. Interview with Wayne Reynolds, American Academy of Achievement. November 11, 1990.


"An absolutely smashing advertisement, exactly on target! Everyone once again is in your debt, dear friend!"
W.H. Ferry. Letter to Linus Pauling. January 9, 1991.


"In the summer of 1953, he and my mother said, 'come meet us in Athens.' So I went to the hotel -- they weren't there. There were storms on the North Atlantic and I thought the plane had been delayed, and it finally occurred to me that they were never going to show up. What had happened, of course, is that Ruth Shipley, who ran the passport department, entirely at her own whim had refused him a passport."
Peter Pauling. Lifestory: Linus Pauling, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. 1997.


"There was a thing called the Hollywood Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, and I went with the parents to a rally in some football stadium, ten thousand people, not a very big one. I sat next to Katharine Hepburn."
Peter Pauling. Lifestory: Linus Pauling, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. 1997.


"At that time in the United States it took a lot of courage to be against the establishment...He became, to some extent, less popular with the trustees of Caltech, because Caltech, as a private institution, was supported by rich wealthy Americans. And rich wealthy Americans were less and less ready to give their money to institutions which supported people like Pauling with his 'anti-government, revolutionary, left-wing communist activities.'"
Jack Dunitz. Lifestory: Linus Pauling, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. 1997.


"December 8, 1941 was a memorable day on the normally quiet Caltech campus....At 10 a.m. we dutifully assembled in Culbertson Hall where our registrar, in full National Guard uniform complete with pistols, gave a most intemperate speech about the dastardly ‘Japs’....Linus Pauling was standing in the back of the hall...and interrupted the speech by bursting out with the question, ‘By what authority have you called this impromptu convocation?’ He then proceeded to remind the registrar that Caltech was known for being a place of thoughtful and factual reason, but the registrar had turned it into a place of pure hysteria. The student body stood up and clapped for Linus. The registrar dismissed the meeting and retreated in some disarray."
Doug Strain. Interview with OSU Libraries Special Collections. 2000.

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