Video: Panel Discussion and Closing Remarks John Byrne
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Related Names: Ahmed Zewail, Tom Hager, Jack Dunitz, Robert Paradowski, Linus Pauling, Jr.
John Byrne: ...join us up here to serve as a panel, so if you could just bear with us, and if the speakers will all come up and take a position at the table, why we'll get going with the final panel.
...and you have heard not only outstanding science that we'll say was stimulated by Linus Pauling and his career, but you've also heard the human side of Linus Pauling, and so at this point I invite the panelists to direct questions to their colleagues at the table, or I permit you and urge you to direct comments to any one of them or the entire panel.
Question: Ahmed, I wonder if you could comment on the reconciliation of Linus Pauling with the Institute after his disenchantment with his treatment there.
Ahmed Zewail: Well, probably Tom would know better than I do, but I did feel that when he came on the 85th birthday, at the beginning I did feel that there was a bit of tension there, and uncomfortable feelings. But by the time he left Caltech on the second or third day, I felt he was extremely happy. He got it off his chest during dinner in the Athenaeum by telling us that Caltech did many mistakes, but that Caltech was the best institution that he enjoyed. So I did feel that on the 85th birthday he felt very good about Caltech, and this was very evident when he came back on the 90th birthday. Personally, I interacted with him since the 85th birthday when we established the Linus Pauling Chair, when we had the Linus Pauling lectureship, and he came down for the first three or four lectures, so I did feel that the relationship was going in the right direction. That's my impression, and I don't know if that was your impression too.
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I think that's right, there was a rapprochement between him and Caltech that he valued.
Question: I'm wondering if his mother's battle with pernicious anemia and possible accompanying psychosis might have led to his interest in mental illness in the mid-1950s?
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I don't think there's any specific evidence for that...
John Byrne: Can you repeat the question?
Linus Pauling, Jr.: The question was did his experience with his mother's pernicious anemia and possible mental illness influence his decision to get into psychiatry in the mid '60s. I don't think there's any evidence of that. I've been suspicious, and again, I hope I'm not being paranoid about it, that my being a psychiatrist might have influenced him, but his interest in psychiatry was purely nutritional and biochemical; he wasn't at all interested in interpretive psychiatry.
Tom Hager: I'd like to add a little something to that too. As a biographer it's hard to do cause and effect clearly in many situations, especially when they're separated by time like that, and I've wondered the same thing. The fact that Linus' father died at a very early age when Linus was 9 years old, his mother died at a relatively early age from what is essentially a molecular disease, and Pauling's lifelong interest in organization - and Bob Paradowski brings this up too - Linus Pauling's interest in orderly explanations and organization and clear answers to questions may have been linked in some way to an early life that was sort of disordered in many ways. In addition, his long term interest in blood molecules and blood could be related back. But I think cause and effect is very difficult, certainly in molecular psychology and molecular psychiatry. He did come in from the angle of vitamin C studies, and the optimal molecular balance for optimal health seems to be a more direct cause. [5:04]
Question: My question is for Robert Paradowski. I'm sure that many people in the audience would like to know when your long-awaited biography on Linus Pauling is going to be published.
John Byrne: We had a question from the librarian asking when the second volume is about to come out - Robert Paradowski.
Robert Paradowski: Well as Steve [Lawson] said, my book is going to be called The Alpha Helix, the first book that I'll be publishing on the material I've gathered. But one reason I'm taking so long is that you people keep getting more and more papers that I haven't been able to look at, and my mind keeps changing. As I read more papers I keep understanding things more deeply, and I don't like to make mistakes, I like to have things very accurate And when I read some of the stuff that's been written and I notice a lot of errors, it bothers me. I know it's inevitable that there will be errors and mistakes, but I think truth is the daughter of time, and if you keep doing the work that eventually it's going to get clearer and clearer. It still bothers me that there are papers that are not yet here, that I'm not going to be able to see, and I've heard that Linus burned a lot of papers, and that bothers me too: that no one will ever see those papers. So one wonders what he burned and what was in those papers.
John Byrne: In the interest of stimulating a little debate, Tom, would you like to respond to those comments by Bob Paradowski?
Tom Hager: Well, as someone who wrote a biography that has a number of admitted mistakes in it, I agree that more time is often a very good thing. The fact is, the holdings in the Pauling Collection here at Oregon State and the other material on Linus Pauling is so incredibly voluminous, the amount of information is so enormous, that it makes him a difficult biographical subject. Some subjects are difficult because you can't get enough information on them; Pauling is difficult because there's so much information.
Robert Paradowski: And you have to be an expert in many different areas: quantum mechanics, x-ray crystallography, nature of the chemical bond, the peace movement, politics, the background of all these countries he visited - it's a very rich life if you're interested in the 20th century. It's been fun, I've been enjoying it. Collecting information is fun too.
Question: I was wondering about the relation between him and Einstein: was it just competition or was there something more?
John Byrne: Bob, can you repeat the question?
Robert Paradowski: The question was about the interaction between Linus Pauling and Albert Einstein, and it goes back to this period I was talking about in 1926-27. He went to a meeting in Germany, and he didn't meet Einstein there, but he saw him there, and later on, when Einstein came to this country following the rise of Nazism in Germany, Einstein visited Caltech, so Pauling began to interact with Einstein then. And then there were the famous interactions after the war, in connection with the peace movement - that's when he really got to know Einstein quite well, because they shared the feeling that these nuclear weapons had to be done away with in some way. He visited Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton then. There were letters here in the archive between Einstein and Linus, too, that are interesting. I wouldn't say they were close, but they had an interesting relationship over the years, particularly in the '30s, '40s, '50s. [9:15]
Question: Do you feel that Ava Helen should have shared the Nobel Prize for Peace?
John Byrne: The question was, do you feel that Ava Helen should have shared the Nobel Prize for Peace?
Robert Paradowski: I know that Linus told me that he was surprised that she wasn't part of the prize, and when he went to Norway to pick up his prize he asked Gunnar Jahn why hadn't she been included? He [Jahn] said nobody brought up her name. So it's typical males making decisions, and they just don't think of the female. Had someone brought up Ava Helen's name, and she did contribute an immense amount of work, you just have to look at the papers here. She was with him and working hard all along the way. And besides, it was her stimulus, I think, that got him interested in it in the first place.
John Byrne: On the basis of what you know about the materials in the library, and I asked Cliff [Mead] this as well, is there ample material for someone to do a definitive biography on Ava Helen?
Robert Paradowski: I think it would be tough now. I was thinking of that as well, there's a lot of material on the early years. I'm not even sure I showed that picture of her father, do you know much about her relationship with her father?
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I don't think she had much of a relationship with him. She must have been only - well, she was third from the youngest, so she would have been pretty young when he left.
Robert Paradowski: I know that she told me that she idolized him, that she really admired him, and she was nervous about this meeting because she hadn't seen him for so many years. She didn't know how he would react to her, she knew that she still loved him and wanted to express that to him, but that was a tragic last meeting.
John Byrne: Cliff, do you want to take a shot at it?
Cliff Mead: I would say, that in the Pauling Papers in the library there are 20-25 linear feet of material exclusively by Ava Helen Pauling, and people always come by and look at it, they express their interest, and they always say "someone needs to write a biography on her," but nobody has done that yet, and you are welcome to come and have a look at it.
John Byrne: We are planting a few seeds here this afternoon.
Question: Given the description of the Depression and the McCarthy Era tyranny, I wonder if Pauling had any encounters with Richard Nixon in the late '40s, early '50s, because that's the period when Nixon was a Congressman, and later, for a brief time, in the Senate?
Tom Hager: The question was, during the McCarthy period were there any interactions between Pauling and Richard Nixon. Now, there rings a very faint bell, there is some correspondence with Nixon's name on it in the collection, but my memory is that the interaction was rather minimal. Nixon, of course, became famous for the Alger Hiss case, when he was serving on the House Un-American Activities Committee, and I believe that Pauling didn't play a major role in that particular case. Pauling was investigated sort of person to person, not by HUAC but by the California Committee on Education, by what was called the Industrial Employment Review Board, which judged security clearances. And by a Senate committee in 1961, I believe, the Dodd committee, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, which was the Senate version of the House Un-American Committee. I don't know if anyone else can add information about Nixon.
Robert Paradowski: I can add a little something about Alger Hiss, because the last telephone conversation I had with your father was dealing with this case and the new scholarship that was coming out about it, and he still maintained that Alger Hiss was probably innocent and was protecting someone - that was his theory. Hiss wasn't telling the truth, but he wasn't doing it because he had been a Communist, but because he was trying to protect someone.
Linus Pauling, Jr.: Well, I know that he hated Nixon from the time that Nixon defeated Helen Gahagan Douglas in California as his first dirty trick.
John Byrne: That's not necessarily a political statement.
Question: This is a question for each of you, really: it's about Linus Pauling's habit of writing. I'm not a scientist, but I've had the opportunity in Special Collections to look at this incredible collection of his scientific notebooks from college to days or weeks before he died, and what is amazing to me is his absolute fidelity to recording the physical world, because he never loses interest, he always wrote everything down, and he's completely fascinated and completely meticulous. And I'm amazed, and I assume this is what scientists do, but my question is, did he have this much more than other scientists, or did he just live longer, or what? [15:21]
Ahmed Zewail: Now let me comment on something. When I arrived at Caltech I was amazed by the library we have in one of the old buildings, and Linus was a chairman of our chemistry department, actually our Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. I don't know if it was a division at the time. Anyway, he was a chairman of the chemistry department at Caltech, and for more than 20 years he was a chairman. In this library you will find laboratory notebooks that are so beautiful and bound, and each has a number, and so every graduate student that went through Caltech during the Pauling period had to have a special laboratory notebook bought from a special place, and they had to document things properly. In fact, in one incident we went back and looked at some of these laboratory notebooks. This is not the situation nowadays, so I just wanted you to know that this is not the norm, nowadays people use computers and they buy different notebooks and they write their own things, so it's not as regular and as beautiful as it used to be during the Pauling time at Caltech.
John Byrne: At the risk of boring you, I'd like to share with you something that I copied out of Linus' books relative to that question, and I think it demonstrates ever the scientist, ever the observer. I won't tell you the title of this, but it was written on Monday, the 5th of November, 1974. I'm trying to read his handwriting, which as some of you know is kind of scrawly, but it says:
"At about 12:28 a.m. on 5 November I woke, opened my eyes, and was astonished and frightened by a hallucination. Hovering over me was the head of a man, glaring stare, with a diabolical expression and flashing eyes. The face was a coppery-red color with highlight, as though oily. It seemed to be about a foot (25 cm) in diameter and about 5 feet (125 cm) above me. Not so far away is the ceiling. After about 2 seconds, or perhaps somewhat more, its aspect changed to that of another face, not menacing, and then to another and another. I had ceased to be frightened and decided that I was experiencing a natural phenomenon. After about two minutes (estimated) I looked at a clock with red digits visible at a twelve foot distance: it was 12:30 a.m., the room was dimly lit by the clock and light from the edges of the drawn curtains (there were electric lights outside). The faces were surrounded by darkness extending uniformly to the periphery of my vision. They were not sharply outlined but faded into the darkness. The solid angles, subtended by the red glow, may have been somewhat less than stated above. Without moving except my head, I observed the phenomenon until about 12:52 a.m. I found the face moved as I rotated my head. It seemed to be in the center of my visual field at all times. It remained when I closed my eyes and when I put my hands over my eyes. At times, it disappeared but returned in a few seconds. It was always dimmer than it had seemed when I first wakened. The eyes seemed to shine, but intermittently; that is, they seemed to flash. Throughout the period of over 20 minutes, the face seemed to change, usually every two or three seconds. For a while, it seemed to be not a face but a red marine invertebrate such as a" 'blank' - I guess he didn't know what the marine invertebrate was. "A portion of it would glow fluorescent or occasionally flash. I decided that the red color was caused by the excitation of one of the receptors of the fabia. I had attended a cocktail party, and ingested perhaps 50 ml of ethanol (as vodka) and eaten some pretzels at 5 to 6 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. I had eaten a large ice cream Sunday with hot chocolate sauce. At 9:30 p.m. I went to bed but had trouble sleeping. At 11:30 p.m. I noticed that I was unusually warm and thought that I was oxidizing the sugar of the ice cream at a high rate. I went to sleep and then wakened, as described above. I had been dreaming, but could not remember the dream. After seeing the marine invertebrates, I again saw faces, perhaps through an effort or will. The color remained red, as though only the red receptors were being stimulated. The vision that I first saw seemed real enough to frighten me. I remained somewhat apprehensive for perhaps 30 seconds. If the face had not changed its aspect quickly, and if I had not had some understanding of physiology, I might have attributed supernatural significance to the phenomenon. I had taken about 2 grams of ascorbic acid at 9:30 p.m."
And that's in Linus' hand, and I had no idea that question was going to come up, but it just seemed appropriate to read that to you. [21:15]
Jack Dunitz: I wanted to say in, not answer but in connection with your question, that I think that Linus Pauling had, in my estimation, and in comparison to the many other chemistry professors that I've known in my life, that he had an enormously large and accurate memory for what he had read in the past. And that the things which he had remembered were organized in a very, very systematic fashion. And in discussions with him, I was often surprised how, given a new piece of information from me, which seemed interesting to me, he could immediately pull out from his memory other observations by other people which were connected somehow with my remark.
The other thing I would like to say is, that's perhaps also in connection with what you just read, that, you know, when, in the New York Review of Books, review of your [Tom Hager's] biography of Pauling by Jeremy Bernstein, Bernstein comments, he says in this that he thinks that Pauling was a very poor writer of English prose. And I, I was so much in disagreement with this that I discussed this also with Alex Rich and we wondered whether we shouldn't write a letter to the New York Review of Books saying that Jeremy, that Bernstein must be out of his mind to make such a comment because he, although he lacked, as has been mentioned here, perhaps the depth, philosophical depths, of people like Pauli and Heisenberg and Bohr, at the level at which he was writing about chemistry he was, there was nobody in the world who was writing clearer than he was. And I've got collections of many paragraphs which he wrote where he is writing down for the first time in history, as far as I know, a new thought, a thought which had never occurred to anybody else, and it's written with an absolutely exemplary clarity such that it can be quoted fifty years afterwards without changing a word.
Tom Hager: And I'd like to add just one brief comment that sort of ties this to the discussion that came earlier about what makes a great scientist - how great a scientist was Linus Pauling. First of all, Pauling was a terrific writer. My background is in journalism and we're taught to write for clarity. Pauling was an exceptionally clear and concise writer and was able to practically dictate entire chapters of books at a sitting, from what I've heard.
The second comment about where does Linus's greatness lie - and is it tied into breakthroughs; paradigm changes. My view is that Pauling was great in a way that is relatively unappreciated - although it's getting to be more so - and that is, he was unafraid to cross disciplinary boundaries. He was a chemist but he was really trained as a physicist as well, and he understood how to bring physics into chemistry and inform chemistry of physics. He then moved into biology and then from there into medicine. And at each step of the way he encountered some degree of criticism for being, sort of straying outside of his field. However, his prodigious memory, as Jack pointed out, allowed him to take information from one area of science and apply it to a different area of science in unique ways.
I think my nomination for why he was really great would be in his formation of the idea, or his expansion of the idea, of molecular complementarity and the use of multiple small forces in biological systems, which was expounded and elaborated by his laboratory through the '40s and '50s in a way that I didn't see anywhere else in the world at that time. It helped found the entire field of molecular biology. Pauling may have missed the structure of DNA but he got the essential fact that biomolecules interact through a series of small forces over a large area. And that's essential for modern molecular biology. I find that a compelling reason to consider him among the top scientists in this century. I'd be interested to know what others think about that. [26:39]
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I'm prejudiced.
John Byrne: Doris, you had a question.
Question: Yeah, I was interested in Pauling as an educator. My husband was an undergraduate at Caltech and one of the best experiences he had as an undergraduate, maybe even a lower division student, he was able to take a chemistry course from Linus Pauling and he always said that was pretty remarkable. Was he very interested?
John Byrne: The question addresses Linus as an educator and the degree to which he was interested in that. And Doris pointed out that her husband had been an undergraduate who had taken a chemistry course from Linus Pauling.
Ahmed Zewail: When we arranged the 85th celebration of his birthday, the most striking thing on campus was the presence of so many that came from all over the country - and some from outside the United States - who took classes with Linus Pauling, as freshman for example, and they were just coming back to say thank you for what you did for us. He, but this may be just the overall picture, but in my opinion it was two things. One is the clarity that Jack talked about. Linus was very clear in conveying concepts and very precise. And therefore he was very well known at Caltech for his clarity.
Secondly, the charisma also, which some have it, some don't. Even if both are great scientists but Linus had a charisma. And he was also, which doesn't come out in many write-ups, he was very, very human and very interested in people. I saw him put his hands around a freshman at Caltech and walking with him through campus. So this combination of things really made him a great teacher at Caltech.
Jack Dunitz: I think also he was an astonishingly-good teacher because he had a theatrical sense, a sense of drama. When I was a post-doc, I used to go to his freshman lectures just to learn how to teach chemistry. And I was constantly amazed by his histrionic abilities in taking a situation and bringing it up to - this is not when he was old, I'm talking when he was 45 years old - and he would take some problem like the reaction of alkaline metals with water. Chemists had to know this and he would take this simple thing and bring it up to a pitch and at the end, he would have a piece of, throw something from hand to hand, and he would say, - there were only boys there - "well, boys, this is a piece of sodium, and as you know the reaction of sodium with water is extremely violent." And on the desk there would be a big beaker, and he would take his piece of sodium up to the top and everybody in the audience was waiting and he'd drop it in and there was a gasp, communal gasp. Nothing happened. And he says "with alcohol the reaction is much less violent." Now, anybody present at that demonstration will remember that for the rest of their life. [30:37]
Ahmed Zewail: Especially when you spend an hour on why the reaction is doing that.
John Byrne: The comment was that in the mid-70s, this gentleman, at a meeting in Cornell with another colleague, presumably from Germany, or presumably a colleague, sat up much of the night with Linus talking about education.
Robert Paradowski: You can set up chemical genealogies too, because of all his students, and then the students that they have taught, and if you spread that over the United States you can see the tremendous influence he's had through his students, in fact all over the world.
John Byrne: Ellen.
John Byrne: The question was, as biographers, how difficult is it to avoid that "Great Man" theme as you write about a man like Linus Pauling.
Robert Paradowski: I think to deal with the facts, if you look at the actual events that happened, the letters that exchanged, the problems in the family, they're not always smooth. You don't, he's not always a great man in terms of his daily life, there are all sorts of problems that crop up. You try to reveal the person in his humanity, I think. He's not that different. He has flesh and blood the same as we do. So, and he had suffering in his life. I think of him as he was dying. He had to die and he had to come to terms with that. You reveal him in all his facets and so I think that's part of the joy of biography, you identify with these...
I teach a course called "Makers of Modern Science" where we deal not with just Pauling's life but Newton, Darwin, Einstein and then I have my students choose a particular scientist that they study. And that's what they do, they try to choose some scientist that appeals to them and they learn from going over the life of someone else. Because, as I tell, we all live lives. You can't escape it. You're gonna be born, you're going go through this process, and you're going to die. And that's one of the joys of biography, I think. What is it said, that biography is a life with all the boring parts left out? So, you snip it out and you take all of these wonderful events and some of the tragic events too and I think - I learn from biography, I read them all the time. And I, I just read one of Howard Hawks, of all people, and he lived in Pasadena, hated scientists, by the way. But I read biography of all sorts of people and I profit from them. And you'd be surprised, every life you find connections to your own and you can learn from those lives.
Tom Hager: I agree with Bob, absolutely. I think the biographer's job is to parse away the mythology that accrues around a great figure, like Pauling. And certainly there was, a mythology can accrue from people who observe a person's life and draw conclusions about it. For instance, some people decided that Linus Pauling was a left-wing crackpot and some people decided that he was a devoted servant of human ideals. And then there's the mythology that grows up from the subject themselves and the subject's family. In Pauling's case, I think we're lucky in that, I found in my interviews with Linus that he was extremely forthcoming and his terrific memory applied to himself and his family, as well as to science. And those around him tended to be very honest as well; the children tended to be very honest and acquaintances tended to be very honest, so it was somewhat eased in looking at Dr. Pauling's life. [35:38]
John Byrne: Craig.
John Byrne: The question is, if it had not been for Linus Pauling's effort in the '50s and '60s, what would have happened to above testing of nuclear devices.
Robert Paradowski: Well, he wasn't the only person; I'm sure there were lots of other scientists that would have stepped in. But he certainly was a symbol that helped organize.
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I think he was the spark plug that energized the people that opposed atmospheric testing.
Jack Dunitz: I think it is almost impossible for young people today in the atmosphere where there are vast environmental protests if, let us say for - certainly in Switzerland there's an issue, what to do about the radioactive, about the stuff that is taken out of the atomic energy supplies and has to be stored somewhere. And the plan is to store it under some 10,000 feet high mountain or something like this, because in, they've done a lot of tests in Sweden, what sort of rocks to put it in and so forth, and it's presumably by now something that presents no possible danger to anything. Yet when such a thing is proposed, there are enormous objections to this. There's no other proposal about how to solve the problem but anything involving radioactivity at a level which is a millionth of what was going on in the atmospheric testing is now opposed by all sorts of organizations. People will go out and put themselves, lie across the railroad tracks to stop trains going past carrying radioactive material. And I think in this atmosphere, it's almost impossible to imagine a society in which governments or armies or military establishments were putting into the atmosphere billions of times more radioactivity, and most people said, well, that's how it is. And I think in that sense, I'm sure that even without Pauling, this change in the attitude of people towards the environment would have changed, but it probably would have changed slower.
Tom Hager: As I said, I think Pauling deserved the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Committee thought he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize as well. I think that one critical - it is true that there was a worldwide peace movement and there was a worldwide anti-bomb movement at the same time with a number of leaders, and I mentioned a couple in my talk, including Bertrand Russell as very, very much so, Albert Einstein, and a number of scientists as well. I think what Pauling did that was critical in my view was the petition drive in 1956-57, in which he showed, essentially showed the world that scientists as a group, scientists as a profession, had deep concerns. And that I think helped inform the public debate in very important ways.
John Byrne: Chris.
Question: My question takes the form of, at the outset, of reminiscence. I first heard of Pauling when I learned about resonance in a freshman chemistry course in 1954. Less than a week later, Pauling was identified as the recipient of the Nobel Prize. The day after that, this was in Portland, the day after that, The Oregonian ran an editorial congratulating its native son but spending most of the piece criticizing him for his political views, which had caused him to lose his passport. So my question is, for those of you that knew Pauling at that time, what were his feelings about the dominant political culture in the state and city that had been his home? [39:58]
Jack Dunitz: Probably you or no?
Linus Pauling, Jr.: I don't think The Oregonian was the only source of that kind of attitude, so I don't remember any singling out of it as specific. Of course, he was disturbed, my mother was very disturbed about all of the negative publicity and negative attitudes that went around. And one of my chief admirations of my father is that he was able to rise above that kind of thing and continue. I think if I faced that kind of thing I would slink away, but he managed to survive and he didn't show the feelings, the injury that he must, that he felt. But there's evidence that he did feel hurt, and that's especially true with what happened after the peace prize at Caltech. Where, not only had he been battling the trustees at Caltech for a long time but even his colleagues started abandoning him and that really hurt him.
Tom Hager: I think the press reaction to Pauling's peace prize was unprecedented. The Oregonian was mild in comparison to Time magazine, which published an editorial entitled "A Weird Insult from Norway" and the New York, I think it was the New York Herald Tribune which called Pauling a "placard-carrying peacenik" in its coverage of the Nobel Peace Prize. There were a number of people who thought President Kennedy should have gotten the peace prize because of the work that he did on the, on the test ban. And so opinions sort of fell down along political lines to a certain extent. There was a, the only occasion that I know of where Pauling directed, sort of felt aggrieved at his home state at all, came about from a case here at Oregon State involving a professor named [Ralph] Spitzer who was dismissed during the McCarthy period. And Pauling took on the president of OSU at that time, in correspondence defending Spitzer, who happened to be a chemist. But beyond that I would think that The Oregonian didn't stand out.
John Byrne: I'm going to take one more question and Doug you get the last question. And then for those of you who don't get your questions answered, still in your mind or whatever, I'm sure the panelists would be delighted to respond to those.
John Byrne: The question was, if we were to meet 50 years from now, what would we remember most about Linus Pauling? Jack, we'll let you go first.
Jack Dunitz: Well, I think that, just as, even if chemical theories are overturned or changed by, in the next 50 years, they will only be overturned in small details, just the same way as Newton's laws were not destroyed by Einstein, they were amended and made more accurate under special circumstances. And I'm pretty sure that our knowledge of the chemical bond in molecules, of what holds molecules together, will be possibly elaborated and refined by concepts that may arise in the next 50 years, but I think that the underlying structure of what is described in books like The Nature of the Chemical Bond will still be the basis of a large part of chemistry.
John Byrne: Tom.
Tom Hager: I'm not sure how Linus Pauling's scientific reputation is going to fare. I'm, I guess, based in part on my preparation for the talk today, I would hope that, I would hope that he is remembered as a symbol of the importance of the individual conscience in society, and the necessity for citizens to raise their voices and make themselves heard if they see injustice, or if they see ways that society could be made better, regardless of the consequences. In other words, I would hope that the people would look at his example and take a few more chances. [44:57]
John Byrne: Ahmed.
Ahmed Zewail: You know, if you think of Albert Einstein, Doug, most people say today "relativity," just one word about Albert Einstein, and I think in fifty years it will be the chemical bond, the structure of the chemical bond.
John Byrne: Robert.
Robert Paradowski: I agree with Ahmed, I think that's true - structure of chemistry, molecular biology. I'm a little bit leery about molecular medicine because I still don't know what the future of molecular medicine is going to be. I know Rick and others are very hopeful for the future but I'm not willing to predict what's going to happen in fifty years.
John Byrne: Linus.
Linus Pauling, Jr.: Well, I don't know that I can hazard a guess about fifty years from now, but I do know what impresses me the most right now, and that is a tendency to agree with Tom Hager, that the incredible courage, tenacity, and willingness to sacrifice self for the common good that he displayed during the McCarthy era, in, for the benefit of us all, that is what really impresses me.
John Byrne: I think the question, Doug, was a good one because it leads right in to some of the comments I had put down as quote "closing comments." And it goes back to a comment that Steve Lawson made that Linus is an American hero. And a concern that I have is that as biographers create images of our American heroes, they frequently lose sight, particularly as they get farther from the individual's life, of the human element of that individual. And the danger to that is that they, the heroes, the geniuses, become icons, in a sense, that lack that human connection and cease to serve as models for young people that have the same innate capabilities that they may have had. And so I would hope that in 50 years we don't lose sight of the human aspect of Linus Pauling, which I think has been so well documented here today, as well as the fantastic science which has evolved out of some of his discoveries and so on. Linus, to me, was a man who changed ideas into action for the benefit of human beings, and I think that's a pretty good philosophy that probably Linus lived by - that what really counted was the ideas that helped people as long as you put them into action, whether they were scientific or whether they were political or whether they were humanistic.
Ahmed, thank you so very much for demonstrating to us some of the cutting edge science that is so important and we congratulate you on receiving the Nobel Prize. For some of us, you stretched our minds beyond our capability to be stretched, and we appreciate that. And Jack, thank you for demonstrating the importance of space. And as you spoke this morning it occurred to me how important space or gaps in whatever our activity may be. As you indicated, if there was no space there wouldn't be room for those vibrations - that my wife informed me that if it were not for the space between notes, music would not sound very good. And Tom, thank you for bringing up the importance of controversy and standing up to that controversy in a political sense. And I think the message that comes through loud and clear is that all of us, whether we're scientists or not, have a responsibility for the political aspects of our societies. And to those of us who have the courage, those among us who have the courage to stand up, Linus Pauling stands as a symbol of that kind of courage. And Robert, thank you for coming forward and sharing with us again the aspect of controversies, not only in terms of science, but in terms of the personal dimensions of Linus Pauling. And finally, I guess, Linus, thank you so very much for sharing something that no one else could have shared with this community to show the humanity of Linus Pauling.
Controversy or truth, it seems to me the two came together very nicely in Linus Pauling and that's something that we celebrate today. We celebrate a man, we celebrate creativity, we celebrate courage and all of the things that Linus Pauling demonstrated so very well. I want to thank all of you, thank the panel, and thank the Pauling Heritage Committee for putting together this symposium, which I think was very, very beneficial to everyone who was here. And we'll look forward to seeing you all again next year on the 28th of February, the year 2002. Thank you all very much for coming. [50:05]
Watch Other Videos
- Cliff Mead, Steve Lawson, Paul Risser - Introductory Remarks and President's Greeting
- Ahmed Zewail - Keynote Address: “Timing in the Invisible,” Part 1
- Ahmed Zewail - Keynote Address: “Timing in the Invisible,” Part 2
- Tom Hager - “The Price of Controversy”
- Jack Dunitz - “Space Filling in Molecular Solids”
- Robert Paradowski - “An American in Munich: Truth and Controversy in the Life and Work of Linus Pauling during the Golden Years of Physics”
- Linus Pauling, Jr. - “Life with Father...And Mother”
- John Byrne - Panel Discussion and Closing Remarks
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