The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Ken Hedberg Oral History Interviews. September - October 2011

Ken Hedberg Oral History Interviews

Four life history interviews conducted by Chris Petersen.

September - October 2011

Location:  Valley Library, Oregon State University.

Ken Hedberg (b. 1920) has a personal connection to OSU that spans parts of nine decades. Born in Portland and raised primarily in southern Oregon, Hedberg attended Oregon State College from 1939-1942, graduating with a degree in Chemistry. Following a stint working for Shell Development Company during World War II, Hedberg continued his education at the California Institute of Technology, completing his Ph.D. in 1948 and developing a friendship with Linus Pauling that would last until Pauling's death in 1994. Hedberg returned to his alma mater in 1956, accepting a position in the OSC Chemistry department and remaining on faculty until retiring in 1987. Recognized internationally as an expert on the determination of molecular structures through the use of electron diffraction, Hedberg has continued to work and publish in the years since his formal retirement, solving the structures of numerous compounds using an apparatus that he designed and built in the mid-1950s. Over four interviews Hedberg shares his memories of campus life in the years prior to World War II; discusses the environment at Caltech during its "golden age"; provides insight into the life, work and personality of Linus Pauling; and reflects on more than half a century of Chemistry at OSU.