Narrator: The alpha-helix discovery excited the interest of the scientific world. But by 1952,
Pauling's increasingly frequent speeches against nuclear bomb tests began to get in
the way of his work.
Linus Pauling: We had been working on the structure of proteins and had discovered the alpha-helix.
The Royal Society of London arranged a two-day conference -- a symposium -- to be
devoted just to this subject. I was to be the first speaker, presenting the description
of the structures that we had found. And Professor Corey, the second speaker -- my
collaborator in Pasadena -- describing the background work that he and the other people
had done. And then speakers from all over the world were to continue to discuss this
I wasn't there because I was refused a passport. And the reason given was: "Not in
the best interests of the United
States." That's not very illuminating. It even seemed to me to be untrue. I think
that it would have been to the better interests of the United States for me to have
delivered the opening address of this symposium on the structure of proteins, than
to have the United States advertised all over the world as a country that doesn't
allow its scientists to go abroad to talk about the scientific work that they have