Linus Pauling: So in 1940 the German physicist Pascual Jordan...who had worked with Born on matrix
mechanics -- of course, knew physics, didn't know any chemistry, I'm sure -- wrote
a paper in which he said that the gene duplicates itself because, according to quantum
mechanics, two identical molecules interact with one another more strongly than a
molecule and a non-identical molecule.
Max Delbrück met me on the campus and said that Jordan had published that paper, which
I said was nonsense. So Delbrück and I published a paper saying that we had calculated
the magnitude of the energy of interaction and it was just completely negligable --
this special quantum mechanical interaction between like molecules of the dimensions
of molecules that are present in the human body. And that, in fact, the gene consists
of two mutually-complementary strands, and the gene duplicates itself by the unfolding
of a pair of mutually-complementary strands so that each can act as a template for
the synthesis of the other.
Creator: Linus Pauling Associated: Pascual Jordan, Max Born, Max Delbrück Clip ID: 1983v.1-delbruck
Creator: Linus Pauling Associated: University of California, Berkeley