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Letter from Linus Pauling to Peter Pauling. October 22, 1952.
Linus writes to request that Peter send him the exact dimensions of a window for which Peter requires curtains. Linus also discusses the compensation that Jim Watson can expect from Caltech during his residency in Pasadena and provides updates on a variety of topics -- a planned trip to Sweden for the summer of 1953, new Caltech laboratories for work on chemical biology, a possible stock-purchase arrangement and Linus's continuing work on his textbook, "General Chemistry."


22 October 1952

Dear Peter:

We were glad to have your letter, which arrived yesterday, just before I sent my letter off to you.

Mama wants to know if you have met Crick? You did not mention him in your letter.

Also, as to your curtains: will you check the dimensions and let us know. You say in your letter two windows 6’ 6” high, 50” and 37” wide respectively, in other words four curtains each 48” wide. Mama thinks that you probably mean four curtains each 36” wide. It would be hard to get the wider material.

Also, would you write us as to the exact points between which the vertical dimensions are measured. What is the distance from, say, the top of the window frame (or some other exactly specified locus) to the floor, and also to the bottom of the window frame? Mama thinks that probably the curtains should reach all the way to the floor, but in any case they should extend from the top of the window frame to the bottom of the window frame (if you have window frames), or from a point a little below the opening at the bottom. She suggests that one of your old curtains might serve for one of the windows, and that she would then have to make only a pair for the larger window.

I sympathize with you about the bed. I remember sleeping on a bed which had a two by four across under my ear; it was not very comfortable.

As to Jim Watson’s pay, 110 pounds a month, that amounts to $3660 a year. I suppose that he may have to pay some or all of his traveling expenses to Pasadena out of it, or he may have a special grant for travel. The rate $3600 per year is the one that we used for first-year post-doctorate people up till last year. Now we pay, in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, $4000 (under ordinary circumstances) to a first-year post-Ph.D., and increase the sum by $200 a year or $300 a year the next year. The average stipend for Ph.D.’s from this Institute in their first jobs last year was, as I remember, $5700, the high being about $7500 (perhaps one man got more – I am quoting these figures from memory). The high salaries, of course, came from industry. It is evident that it is worth while financially to complete the work for the doctorate in three years, if possible, because of the great difference in income of a post-doctoral fellow and a man working for his doctor’s degree.

You might consider it worth while to wear woolen underwear. I had intended to turn over some of mine (in part inherited from Fred Ewing) to you, but our absence from home when you left prevented it. Why don’t you buy one suit and try it out? I think that it makes a great difference.

How much would it cost in postage for you to send copies of the Times and the New Statesman on to us – perhaps saving them up for a week or two, bundling them up in a package, and mailing them by surface mail? I should be glad to see them, but I am too busy to wander over to the library to look them over – I need to have them at home, to read in my spare time.

Did you know that Mama and I are planning to go to Sweden next summer? You might want to consider this in making your plans. Our plans are still subject to change, but tentatively they are as follows. I shall probably come to Belgium, about 1 April 1953, for the Solvay Congress – this is a meeting restricted by the rules to 25 people, the subject for the Ninth Solvay Congress, next year, being the chemistry and physical chemistry of the proteins (excluding biology). Probably Mama will not come because of the expense. I shall stay just a short time, possible [sic] stopping in England for the anniversary meeting of the Faraday Society, but perhaps not. Then Mama and I shall come over in the summer for the International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in Stockholm and Uppsala, 29 July to 4 August. Perhaps we shall go to Germany (Tübingen) on the way – I have been approached to come to a conference on muscle, with the support of the Unitarian Service Committee, but this arrangement is indefinite at present.

Had you heard before you left that we are going to have a new laboratory – a joint chemistry-biology laboratory for chemical biology. JHS has been working on it, representing the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. I shall probably move into it – onto the second floor, near the connection with Crellin (there will be an archway along the west of Crellin). It is to be a laboratory for chemical biology. Beadle will move into the other end of it. By the way, Beadle is engaged to be married, to a woman who works for the Mirror, as fashion editor or something like that. We met her at the DuBridge’s tea. She looks like a sensible person.

Don’t forget to write to me immediately about the Freeman stock and notes. Mama says that we might have difficulty in getting the company to agree to having you as stockholder, because of a motion that was passed that stock would not be sold to anybody except the present stockholders, until the company is further stabilized. Would you be willing to enter into a contract with me, turning over the $935, under an agreement that I would turn over to you the income from the stock and notes, and agree to buy them back from you on demand?

Your problems came in plenty of time, because I have not yet settled down to finishing the book. I hope to get the job done during the next month, and the problems for the later chapters will be put off till the end. Accordingly I would be willing to accept more problems from you, during the month of November.

Much love from

Linus Pauling:W

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