Linus Pauling and the Structure of Proteins: A Documentary History Narrative  
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Robert Corey did not seem destined for great things. He had worked for years as a laboratory assistant at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, laboring patiently on the x-ray analyses of everything from porcupine quills to hemoglobin. Despite his perfectly adequate work, he had been laid off during cutbacks in the Depression, and had written Pauling asking if he could work in Pasadena for a year. Times were so bad that he offered to bring his own equipment and even pay his own salary. The timing could not have been better. Pauling, of course, said yes, but with a caveat; He warned Corey that there might not be enough money to ever offer him a permanent position.

Corey did not make a strong first impression. He had been crippled as a child and never fully recovered; he limped badly and used a cane. He looked older than his forty years, an unprepossessing man with thinning hair and a small dark moustache. He was shy and retiring. Pauling later described Corey as "a gentle and tender man."

But beneath the surface there were glimmers of a strong, insightful intelligence. Pauling picked up on it almost immediately. "He [Corey] and I together decided that he should work on the determination of the structure of some crystals of amino acids and simple peptides," Pauling said. Then he corrected himself. "When I say that he and I together made this decision, I may not be quite right. It is not unlikely that he had already made the decision, and that he arranged to have me agree with him, in such a way that I would think that we had made the decision together. I learned later that he was very good at this."

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Audio Clip  Audio: Corey and Pauling - A Study in Contrasts. approx. 1991. (1:19) Transcript and More Information

See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Robert Corey. May 4, 1937. 
See Also: Letter from Robert Corey to Linus Pauling. May 8, 1937. 
See Also: Letter from Robert Corey to Linus Pauling. July 3, 1937. 

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Robert Corey. 1950.

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Letter from Robert Corey to Linus Pauling. April 30, 1937.

"During a single year, using his own x-ray equipment, Corey made great strides into the protein puzzle. He showed that in the crystalline dipeptide diketopiperazine (a simplified analogue of amino acids), the amide bonds were coplaner, strongly suggesting the presence of a resonance structure - observations that fit precisely with Pauling's studies of the amide bond in urea during the early 1930s."

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