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Interview with John T. Edsall.
Interview with John T. Edsall. November 1, 1991.
Interview by Thomas Hager for use in "Force of Nature: The Life of Linus Pauling," (Simon & Schuster, 1995).

The Impact of a 'Dangerous Character.' (2:23)

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John Edsall: The alpha helix did have a great impact. It was realized then that this was something very important. I was a Fulbright lecturer in Cambridge, England in 1952, and I was at the symposium on the structure of proteins that the Royal Society organized, held in April of that year. This was the one that Pauling was expected to be the star of the occasion and then had his passport taken away. And of course, I remember gathering beforehand. The day before the meeting was expected to begin and we were all at a party with tea and other things the previous afternoon. And when the news came that Pauling could not be there, the shock that it produced and the outrage at the stupidity of the State Department detaining the great man as if he were a dangerous character, that was a very vivid feeling. So he had to be only a ghost at the occasion.

But of course, one of the things that troubled some people a good deal was the fact that the repeating unit for the alpha helix did not correspond closely enough with the repeating unit that Astbury had found in keratin. That, of course, was cleared up a little later on by Pauling himself and by Crick independently by the coiled-coils structure for keratin. And that was certainly a matter of debate.


Creator: Thomas Hager, John T. Edsall
Associated: William Astbury, Linus Pauling
Clip ID: hager2.001.5-alphahelix

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Creator: Thomas Hager, John T. Edsall

Date: November 1, 1991
Genre: sound
ID: hager2.001.5
Copyright: More Information

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