Major Events

  • In March, General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, issues the orders to gather 110,000 Japanese-Americans in California and three other states and to move them to hastily constructed "relocation centers." Ava Helen Pauling speaks out against sending Japanese-Americans to these camps.
  • Pauling, Dan Campbell, and David Pressman announce in March that, for the first time in medical history, antibodies have been formed artificially in laboratory flasks. Hitherto these disease-fighting substances have been formed only within the bodies of living persons and animals. This announcement of artificially-made antibodies makes the major newspapers and news magazines. They later publish a paper, "The Manufacture of Antibodies in vitro," in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. This paper creates interest and controversy. Landsteiner repeats the experiment and gets negative results. Others try and cannot reproduce the results of the experiment. Thus, the contention of Pauling, Campbell, and Pressman that they got serum globulin molecules to unfold by various means in the presence of antigens and then to fold up again, just as they would in the blood stream, is met with increasing skepticism. Nevertheless, Pauling continues to feel that what they found is real and should be able to be duplicated.
  • In the spring, Pauling works on propellants for high-altitude rockets. His research centers on nitrocellulose propellants, and his main concern is proper burning of these propellants.
  • In Pauling’s series of papers on the serological properties of simple substances, David Pressman becomes his most important collaborator. Pauling and Pressman occasionally use graduate and even undergraduate students to assist in the experiments on the precipitation reactions between antibodies and substances containing haptenic groups. For example, Carol Ikeda and Miyoshi Ikawa are two undergraduates of Japanese descent who participate in the first two papers in the series. Their work is mainly the preparation of the compounds that are used. Because of the war, Pauling experiences some difficulties in getting these students placed in graduate programs, but he eventually succeeds.
  • Pauling writes a paper on the composition of precipitates of antibodies and polyhaptenic simple substances in which he discusses the valence of antibodies. This is the third paper in the series on the serological properties of simple substances and, like its predecessors, it appears in JACS.
  • On August 10, James Bryant Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and deputy director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), phones Pauling, asking him to serve as chairman of an ad hoc committee on internal ballistics and special propellants. Pauling accepts, and all the work requested is, in due course, done.
  • In the fall, J. Robert Oppenheimer offers Pauling the job of Director of Chemistry and Metallurgy Division at Los Alamos (the atomic bomb project). Because of his nephritis and because he is heavily involved with several war projects, he refuses (Joseph W. Kennedy accepts the position on November 6). Oppenheimer, to entice Pauling to come, says that he will have liters of tritium with which to work, but Pauling sticks by his decision.
  • Pauling’s work as a member of the explosives division of the NDRC and as a participant on the consultative committee on medical research of the OSRD takes up more and more of his time.
Chronology by Robert Paradowski.


 San Francisco 
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 New York (7)
 Washington, D.C. 
 Rochester, MN 
 Washington, D.C. (4)
 Baltimore, MD (3)
 Chicago (3)
 Pittsburgh (2)
 Washington, D.C. (5)
 Pittsburgh (6)
 Aberdeen, PA 
 New York 
 Dover, DE 
See the Paulings' activities in January 1942
See the Paulings' activities in January 1942


Linus Pauling in a Caltech laboratory, holding a rock specimen. Picture. 1942
Linus Pauling in a Caltech laboratory, holding a rock specimen. 1942. Larger Image / More Information


  • 2176 activity listings
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Activity Listings - 1942 (No Date)