Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center
Pauling Chronology
Page 27

The Years Alone: Pauling after the Death of Ava Helen, Part 2 (1989-1994)


At the State Department in Washington, D.C., Pauling receives the Vannevar Bush Award of the National Science Board "for pioneering, with vision, boldness, and drive, the exploration and settlement of new frontiers in science, education, and social consciousness."

He participates, albeit in a minor way, in the discussions about "cold fusion" and offers a chemical explanation for what some have mistakenly interpreted as a nuclear phenomenon.

He continues to publish articles on quasicrystals, the nature of metals, and vitamin C.

He formally applies for a patent for a "technique for increasing the critical temperature of superconducting materials." He believes that discoveries made by him and his associates are "likely to produce a room-temperature superconductor." This patent will be handed over to Superbio, Inc., which is separate from the Linus Pauling Institute.

On September 5, Pauling speaks at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on the "biostatistics of cancer." He attributes the Mayo Clinic’s negative results on their study of vitamin C and cancer to some of their researchers whose work did not conform "to established scientific criteria." In particular, he suspects that the biostatisticians (and not the clinicians) were at fault.

Pauling invites Matthias Rath, a young medical doctor, researcher, and peace advocate that he had met in Germany, to relocate his work on cardiovascular disease to the Linus Pauling Institute. Building on his doctoral research, Rath had become convinced that vitamin C in association with such substances as the amino acid L-lysine would reduce the body’s production of lipoprotein (a), a compound of a low-density lipoprotein and apoprotein (a). He believes, as does Pauling, that lipoprotein (a) is a risk factor for heart disease.

Pauling becomes interested in the Hardin Jones principle and begins to use this biostatistical analysis of mortality data to interpret clinical trials of cancer patients.


In February Dr. Rath joins the Linus Pauling Institute and becomes its first Director of Cardiovascular Research.

Linus Pauling and Daisaku Ikeda publish Seimei no seiki e no tankyu — Kagaku to heiwa to kenko to (In Quest of the Century of Life — Science and Peace and Health) in Tokyo with Yomiuri Shinbunsha Publishers.

In July, as a consequence of the city of Palo Alto’s rezoning of the property where the Linus Pauling Institute is located, the Institute’s existence at the Page Mill Road location is threatened. The city gives the institute until 1993 to move.

In Washington, D.C., an international conference, "Ascorbic Acid: Biologic Functions in Relation to Cancer" arranged by the National Cancer Institute, presents evidence supporting some of Pauling’s claims.


Pauling publishes in the New York Times and other places an appeal to stop the rush to war in the Persian Gulf. He asks everyone, both citizens and political leaders, to concentrate on negotiations and on economic sanctions rather than on war. Despite the appeal of Pauling and others, war begins in the Middle East in mid-January.

On February 28, a symposium on the chemical bond in honor of Pauling on his 90th birthday is held in the Beckman Auditorium of CIT.

Dr. Ewan Cameron dies on March 21, and a memorial service is held five days later at the First Congregational Church of Redwood City.

Pauling and Rath publish papers in which they state that the primary cause of cardiovascular disease is the intake of too small an amount of vitamin C.

On October 11, Pauling’s name and those of such Nobel laureates as Joseph Brodsky and Czesław Miłosz, appear as signatories on "An Appeal for Peace in Croatia" published in the New York Times.

In the fall Pauling experiences intestinal pain that he self-diagnoses as diverticulitis, but his increasing discomfort finally causes him to confer with Dr. Hal Holman on December 7. Pauling is admitted to Stanford Hospital on December 9 for a series of tests, leading to the diagnosis that he has carcinoma of the prostate and that this cancer has spread to the rectum. On December 11 Dr. James Stone excises the rectal tumor together with a part of the rectal wall. Although this transanal resection does some damage to the anal sphincter, Stone considers the operation a success. On December 14 Pauling leaves the hospital to continue his recovery at his son Crellin’s home (formerly his home) in Portola Valley.

On December 26 Pauling decides, in addition to megadoses of vitamin C, to begin hormone therapy, but he decides against having a prostatectomy.

By the end of the year the Linus Pauling Institute is several hundred thousand dollars in debt, with insufficient funds to pay its staff.


In February Pauling announces publicly that he has cancer.

At the end of March, Richard Hicks formally resigns as Vice President for Financial Affairs, and the Board of Trustees appoints Matthias Rath to temporarily assume this responsibility. Before his resignation, Hicks informs the Institute that Carl L. Swadener has left a significant part of his estate, valued at two to three million dollars, to the Linus Pauling Institute. This is the largest bequest ever made to the Institute, but because of the time needed to legally process the gift, the money initially does little to solve the Institute’s serious financial troubles. It is in the process of cutting its staff by nearly a half.

Pauling continues to collaborate with Rath on cardiovascular disease. Pauling’s conviction that a "good chance" exists that "cardiovascular disease can be largely controlled with vitamin C and certain other substances" has led to the formation of the Linus Pauling Heart Foundation.

Emile Zuckerkandl’s term as President of the Linus Pauling Institute ends on July 4, his seventieth birthday. Linus Pauling Jr. then becomes President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

On July 22 Pauling signs a document in which he asks Rath to continue his "life work."

On July 23 Pauling announces his retirement as Chairman of the Board. Stephen Lawson becomes the Executive Officer of the Institute and Pauling is named Research Director.

Tensions develop between Rath, on the one hand, and Linus Pauling, Junior and his father, on the other, and these tensions become severe when Pauling learns that Rath has established, without his permission, an office for the Linus Pauling Heart Foundation away from the Institute. When criticized by Pauling for his actions, Rath resigns from the Foundation.


Despite his health problems, Pauling continues to work. He argues against the growing number of crystallographers who accept quasi-crystals, insisting that they are ignoring powerful arguments supporting his icosahedral twinning hypothesis. He also continues to publish articles on his cluster model of nuclear structure, insisting that nuclear physicists have failed to appreciate the value of his ideas. Despite valiant efforts he fails to convince most American cardiologists of the value of vitamin C and lysine in preventing and treating heart disease.


In January Pauling’s physicians decide that steps need to be taken to shrink his growing rectal tumor in order to prevent problems with blockage. He begins a course of chemotherapy with leucovorin and 5FU. He attributes the lack of negative side effects from this chemotherapy to his megadoses of vitamin C.

Although he writes on February 20 that his illness has "not interfered at all with [his] work," his research notebooks tell a different story. His last entry, a brief note about his work on nuclear structure, appears in January and the pages after it are blank.

Pauling continues to treat his cancer of the rectum in several ways, but when he learns that the cancer has spread to the liver, he realizes that his hope to survive to a hundred has been dashed.

On June 22, with the guidance of Crellin Pauling, the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science holds "A Tribute for Linus Pauling" at San Francisco State University. In his final public appearance, he is brought into the hall in a wheelchair by Linus Pauling, Junior, but insists on walking to his chair. Various speakers, including Harden McConnell, Alexander Rich, Frank Catchpool, Richard Kunin, and Crellin Pauling praise Linus Pauling’s great contributions to science, human health, and world peace.

Throughout July and early August, Pauling, at his Big Sur ranch, receives several visits from his family and close friends.

On August 19, Pauling dies at his ranch.

Painting of Linus Carl Pauling by Leon Tadrick, 1951.
Painting of Linus Carl Pauling by Leon Tadrick, 1951.
LP Photographs, 1951i.15

Table of Contents

  1. The Ancestry of Linus Pauling (The Paulings)
  2. The Ancestry of Linus Pauling (The Darlings)
  3. Linus Pauling's Childhood (1901-1910)
  4. Linus Pauling's Adolescence (1910-1917)
  5. Pauling's Years as an Undergraduate at Oregon Agricultural College, Part 1 (1917-1919)
  6. Pauling's Years as an Undergraduate at Oregon Agricultural College, Part 2 (1919-1922)
  7. Linus Pauling as a Graduate and Postdoctoral Student at the California Institute of Technology, Part 1 (1922-1923)
  8. Linus Pauling as a Graduate and Postdoctoral Student at the California Institute of Technology, Part 2 (1924-1926)
  9. A Guggenheim Fellow in Europe during the Golden Years of Physics (1926-1927)
  10. Early Career at the California Institute of Technology (1927-1930)
  11. Pauling's Great Years of Achievement in Structural Chemistry, Part 1 (1931-1932)
  12. Pauling's Great Years of Achievement in Structural Chemistry, Part 2 (1933-1935)
  13. Pauling's Increasing Involvement in Molecular Biology (1936-1939)
  14. The War Years, Part 1 (1940-1942)
  15. The War Years, Part 2 (1943-1945)
  16. The Postwar Years, Part 1 (1946-1947)
  17. The Postwar Years, Part 2 (1948-1949)
  18. Proteins, Passports, and the Prize (1950-1954)
  19. Increasing Involvement in World Peace, Part 1 (1955-1958)
  20. Increasing Involvement in World Peace, Part 2 (1959-1963)
  21. The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (1964-1967)
  22. The University of California, San Diego (1968-1969)
  23. Stanford University (1969-1972)
  24. An Institute for Science and Orthomolecular Medicine, Part 1 (1973-1977)
  25. An Institute for Science and Orthomolecular Medicine, Part 2 (1978-1981)
  26. The Years Alone: Pauling after the Death of Ava Helen, Part 1 (1982-1988)
  27. The Years Alone: Pauling after the Death of Ava Helen, Part 2 (1989-1994)
  28. About the Author