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Letter from Linus Pauling to the Research Fellowship Board of the National Research Council. December 28, 1925.
Pauling writes to describe his on-going course of research in anticipation of traveling to Europe on a Guggenheim Fellowship -- a move which would result in the relinquishing of his National Research Fellowship.





December 28, 1925

Research Fellowship Board,

National Research Council,

Washington, D.C.


I have recently become interested in a field of research such that study with Professor Sommerfeld and Professor Bohr seems highly desirable. Accordingly I have applied to the Guggenheim Fellowship Board, and have received such encouragement from President Aydelotte as to lead me to believe that I shall be granted a fellowship by them for study abroad from March, 1926, to September, 1927. I feel that this opportunity for foreign study is of sufficient importance to justify my asking to be allowed to resign my National Research fellowship.

In accepting a National Research Fellowship in Chemistry I agreed to remain at the California Institute of Technology for not longer than six months. The researches which I am now prosecuting, described on the included pages, are progressing favorably, and could be satisfactorily completed in the two months between January 1 and March 1, 1926, in case the work were to be continued at this Institute. If, however, I were to leave here and take up residence in some other university for this period, there would be such delay and inconvenience involved in the preparation of apparatus as to make it impossible to conclude the experimental studies being made. For this reason I request permission to remain at the California Institute of Technology until March 1, 1926.

Yours respectfully,

(Signed) Linus Pauling


1. The Crystal Structures of Simple Gases solidified at low temperatures.

With the cooperation of Mr. S. B. Hendricks the crystal structure of solid carbon dioxide has been elucidated, the results agreeing with those of one of the two previously published papers, which led to conflicting conclusions. The investigation of other substances will be carried on by Mr. Hendricks.

2. The study with X-rays of certain solid solutions, and of the structure of complicated crystals.

The crystal structure of martite, the cubic form of ferric oxide, is being studied by means of Laue and spectral photographs with the assistance of Mr. R.K. Day, for the purpose of explaining the formation of solid solutions between martite and magnetite. With Mr. Day solid solutions in the system (NH4)2SiF6 – (NH4)3A1F6 are also being investigated.

Solid solutions between sodium nitrate and sodium nitrate are being studied with powder photographs with the help of Mr. L.M. Kirkpatrick, in order to obtain information regarding the nature of solid solutions and the structure of the nitrite ion.

These researches can not be completed by the graduate students who are assisting with them, for they have not had sufficient experience. In case that I should remain here until March, however, this work could be completed.


3. Theoretical research in atomic and molecular structure.

a. A principle by mans of which the relative stabilities of isosteric isomeric ions and molecules can be predicted has been discovered, and applied to a number of substances. A paper describing this work, written in collaboration with Mr. Hendricks, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

b. The quantum theory of the dielectric constant of diatomic dipoles, as given by Pauli, has, after the correction of an error, been applied to Zahn’s measurements of the dielectric constants of the hydrogen halides. In this way values of the electric moments of these molecules very much smaller than those given by the classical theory interpretation of the data are obtained. An abstract of this work has been submitted to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for publication, and a paper is also being prepared for the Physical Review.

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