Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

“The Essential Bond”

June 12, 1999

Video: “The Essential Bond” 

1:23:42 - Abstract | Biography


Overture - 1990's (proscenium)

Enter Elder Pauling, Linus Pauling in his nineties. He addresses the audience...

ELDER PAULING: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I want to ask you to remember your childhood, that eternity when we were all young, when we all seemed to draw from the same experiences and shared the same dreams-dreams of love, of happiness, dreams of a great future. Every kid has a place he or she goes-a place of adventure and mystery, a place where dreams and fantasies are acted out. For some, a back yard becomes a lost continent, a dusty attic a haunted house, mother's vanity a costume shop. I wonder what yours was. For me, the basement of my mother's boarding house became, well, a chemistry lab. I made explosions there. That was my solace, my refuge. And so it was, many years ago around the turn of the century, I grew up in Oregon the son of a pharmacist in a little country town, where cowboys still perched on the stoops of saloons and Indians camped at the edge of town.

A video plays, depicting the events of Linus Pauling's childhood as the voice of Elder Pauling narrates the action.

ELDER PAULING:(Recorded narration) As a boy, I was curious about all things in the natural world. One of my fondest memories from those years was of a pair of new cowboy boots I was given for tramping through the fields. I wore them constantly. Only a few hundred people lived in Condon. The early years in Oregon were among the happiest of my life. I would always consider this small town on the hillside as my spiritual birthplace. My father, Herman Pauling, seemed to be always working. He was the sole support of my mother Isabelle, my two sisters, and me, and he struggled day in and day out to open his own pharmacy. My visits to his back room laboratory were like a journey inside Pandora's box. As a boy, I couldn't think of a place in which I felt more alive than being in that room with my father. My father's death was an event from which my mother, Isabelle, would never fully recover. He was only thirty-three when he died, and I was nine. Some said he'd worked himself to death. Mother was inconsolable. Already in frail health, and with a delicate constitution, she would be left alone to care for her three children with no means of financial support. My father had always encouraged me to read. I suppose that it was in his absence that my insatiable appetite for reading grew even more. The following years were full of wonderful discoveries as I began to explore the nature of the universe. And life with mother was a sort of cat and mouse game. My mother was the cat, tracking me down for what seemed an endless litany of duties and chores. I was the mouse, sneaking into the study, into books and science, searching for a bit of cheese. Only later would I realize that, without her, I might never have understood the value of hard work, patience, and persistence, and I might not have created my own basement refuge, the laboratory where my first love of chemistry would spark to life.

The video ends and Elder Pauling steps forward to speak again.

Classroom - 1922 (class setting)

ELDER PAULING: At age sixteen, I completed high school, and set off for Oregon Agricultural College, against my mother's wishes. She didn't understand my ambition, nor my interest in science. She needed me to work to support the family, which I did unfailingly throughout all my college years. At school however, I suppose you could say I was a "nerd." But, mind you, perhaps, the hardest working nerd in all of Oregon. I devoured my college courses, and all went smoothly until... I took an assignment that would change my life forever. Teaching a chemistry course in a room filled with that strangest of phenomena: young women.

Enter young women, effervescent with chatter.

STUDENT #1: I don't know what I'm going to do if this class is as difficult as last semester. I don't know what was more difficult last term-learning the periodic table or sitting through the most boring lectures on the universe. Why do science teachers have to be so… so…

STUDENT #2: So old.

STUDENT #1: Honestly, what does chemistry have to do with home economics, anyway? Only men could truly love chemistry.

AVA: Oh, I don't know. I think a man's preoccupation with chemistry is obvious: another desperate attempt to understand something infinitely more mysterious. Women are the true experts of chemistry.

STUDENT #3: Hey, did you hear we're getting a new professor?

STUDENT #2: Really? I pray he's understandable. I mean that I can understand what he's talking about.

STUDENT #3: Ava… Promise you won't confuse him, will you? I mean, we all suffer so when your inquisitiveness becomes… provocative.

STUDENT #2:(Laughs) Really, Ava. For as smart as you are, it would pay to act dumb sometimes, especially when it comes to a professor's ego.

AVA: Worthy men are not threatened by the curiosity of a thoughtful female. We'll soon have the right to vote, after all.

STUDENT #3: Who said professors of science are worthy men?

STUDENT #2: I thought we were talking about flirting.

ELDER PAULING: Imagine the world I was about to walk into! All I really knew about the opposite sex was that, for me, the word "opposite" seemed a great choice.

Enter Linus. He proceeds to cabinet.

ELDER PAULING: I was relatively unfamiliar with skills like "conversation" and "romance" and, being young, I frequently heard sniggering behind my back about the youthful "boy professor."

Linus goes from cabinet to board, then comes forward. All this while...

ELDER PAULING: My defense was simple: Choose a victim. Ask an impossible question. Silence the room. Then proudly reveal my own perfect answer.

LINUS: Tell me all you know about ammonium hydroxide, Miss... (looks at roster)

ELDER PAULING: The fateful choice. I searched the list for the most easily pronounceable name.

LINUS: Miss Miller!

Exit Elder Pauling.

AVA: Ammonia is a colorless, pungent gas, highly soluble in water. A saturated water solution of ammonia contains 45 percent ammonia by weight at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 30 percent at ordinary room temperature. On solution in water, ammonia becomes ammonium hydroxide, which is strongly basic and similar to the hydroxides of the alkaline metals. Ammonia was known to the ancients and the name itself (stands up) came from sal-ammoniac, which was produced at the Temple of Jupiter Amun in Libya by the distillation of camel dung. Ammonia was obtained by heating the horns and hooves of oxen and was called "spirits of hartshorn."

LINUS: Anything else, Miss… (checks roster) Miller.

AVA: Yes. Free ammonia was obtained by the German alchemist, Basil Valentine, its composition determined by the French chemist… let me see… Count Claude Berthollet in the year… 1778.

LINUS: The year was seventeen seventy-seven. Seventeen seventy-seven, I believe, Miss Miller. Excellent answer, though. I can see that your first term professor taught you all a great deal. Wonderful. Now we can explore something new. But the first thing we should bear in mind when we think about chemistry, let's all remember the big picture. After all, science is a quest for truth, and truth always has a context. And so I ask you, what is ammonium hydroxide used for? Anyone?

Ava raises her hand.

LINUS: Thank you, Miss Miller. Anyone else, though?

STUDENT #2: Window cleaner.


STUDENT #3: Explosives.


The students continue to give answers. After a while, the other students get up and walk offstage, leaving only Ava and Linus in the classroom, gazing at each other. Eventually, Student #2 comes back onstage to pull Ava away. Linus trips over the chalkboard as he exits. All this while...

ELDER PAULING: Oh, let me tell you, that was it. She was the smartest girl I ever met, and I suppose I don't have to tell you she was beautiful. But, oh boy, what was I going to do? I had heard stories about another professor who'd had an improper relationship with a young student and had been severely reprimanded. I wasn't going to jeopardize my academic career over love. But on the other hand, it wasn't as though I were an old fellow. I was also her senior classman. Either way, I fell desperately in love with her and I was really nervous. I purposefully had to avoid her in class just to survive in there. Finally, I summoned the courage and slipped a proposition in her notebook. I asked her to go for a walk with me, an invitation which, to my great relief and, I suppose, my great terror, she accepted.

A video plays in which Ava and Linus take a walk together.

AVA: Well, Professor Pauling, I have no idea on earth why you'd ask me for a walk when you must be so busy with your classwork.

Linus's eyes dart nervously as he searches for something to say.

AVA: Is there something you want to say to me?

Linus remains nervously silent.

AVA: Yes, of course. You must have some serious academic problem you're struggling with in your mind.

Linus remains silent as they reach the edge of the field and start down a path into the forest.

AVA: Where exactly are we going?

LINUS: You'll see.

ELDER PAULING:(Recorded narration) Ava Helen Miller. She was the daughter of a suffragette. Her parents had engendered in her a love for people and a righteous indignation over human suffering. These qualities would greatly influence me in time, but on this walk it was her beauty, her wit, and her knowingness that was, well, so compelling. Oh, this walk was important. Perhaps she would open her heart to me, affirm her devotion with a kiss, and then, at long last, it would be safe to express my love for her.

Ava and Linus begin to cross a log over a stream. Ava loses her balance, Linus turns to catch her, and they both fall into the stream.

As they lie on the bank of the stream...

LINUS: I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I'm so sorry. Are you all right? Are you hurt? Did I hurt you?

Ava laughs

LINUS: What?

Ava continues to laugh. Eventually, Linus begins to laugh, as well. They gaze into each other's eyes.

ELDER PAULING:(Recorded narration) Wishes are realized in the strangest of ways.

They kiss.

Ava and Linus are shown at the edge of the forest, walking back into the field.

LINUS: It's a secret. It's a mystery, and they're all after it. Before Lewis and Langmuir, the chemist was a bit player, but now, with a focus on electrons, atomic structure could actually be within our reach. Can you believe it? Sharing pairs of electrons is the glue that holds molecules together. Do you know what this could mean?

AVA: And what will you do next?

LINUS: Me? Go to graduate school, of course. I've already entered several top programs across the country. Of course, money is always a problem, but I'll work my way through school. I hope to enter a top program, solve problems, publish papers, unlock the mysteries of the universe. Molecular structure. Atomic structure!

AVA: And for what purpose?

LINUS: Is this a trick question?

Ava moves closer to fix Linus's bowtie. Linus leans in for a kiss, but Ava turns and runs away.

LINUS: Hey! Wait up!

Linus chases Ava through the field. They talk, dance, and embrace.

ELDER PAULING:(Recorded narration) By the end of the school year we were engaged. The following year, in a modest ceremony, we took our vows of marriage.

Caltech and Success - 1940 (lab setting)

ELDER PAULING: Some ten years later. Pasadena, California. My career at Caltech was well underway and a special visitor was about to drop by.

A spotlight finds two people walking down the aisle of the lecture hall: the commanding chancellor, Arthur Amos Noyes, and the well-known scientist Albert Einstein.

They continue along the aisle toward the dimly lit stage where the Caltech classroom has been set up.

NOYES: He's amazing. I've never seen anything like him. Of course, I wouldn't offer such words to his face, for fear inflating the rather capacious balloon that is his pride, but I dare say to you, Doctor, that he is perhaps one of the greatest scientific minds of this century... present company excepted.


NOYES:(brief chuckle) Doctor Einstein, we are very pleased to have you attend one of his lectures. Caltech is young but it knows when to give all due respect.

EINSTEIN: I smell your flattery. It has the aroma of a delicious, unhealthy meal.

NOYES: He's in the middle of one his valence lectures. I forewarn you his antics are, uh, a bit unorthodox.

Students enter and take their seats. Linus enters.

ELDER PAULING: My antics were more than unorthodox. They were unbelievable.

Linus is in the midst of lecturing a room full of grad students about the famous "valence bond". Meanwhile, Noyes and Einstein approach...

LINUS:(to students) But, really, if we ever hope to confront the strong nuclear force and research unconfinement, shouldn't we confront the forces in our own life?

He hops up onto the table. The students laugh.

LINUS: And break our own confinement first?

STUDENT: But the lab table is reserved for-

LINUS: For what? The Bunsen burner? Listen, in the sodium chloride molecule, the chlorine's third energy shell could be said to be "reserved" for seven electrons only. If we let this be the limit, then where would be? Then where would we be?

STUDENT: We'd be without table salt.

LINUS: We'd be without table salt. Chapter six of Crick and Talbot begins to explain the electromagnetic interchange rates...

Einstein and Noyes try to take their seats inconspicuously.

LINUS: ...that require valence designation. This new paradigm is like finally applying eccentricity to celestial orbits; it's like...a breath of fresh (sees Einstein) air in academic... Ah, yes. It seems we have our special guest. I trust you're all familiar with the work of Mr. Albert Einstein, (to Einstein) Dr. Einstein.


Mesmerized, the students turn to see Einstein as he stands modestly in the back.

LINUS: Yes. Er... Valence bonding! You'll find, in accord with Schrodinger's wave equation, the resonance of such unusual bonding incidents as those of Boron, Oxygen, and Nitroso compounds, (adding a few lines to his chalkboard sketch) odd-electron molecules cease to present ambiguities in attempting to reconcile ionic and covalent analysis strategies. And so, more or less - mostly less - that's how we catalogue the inner space of the bond!

The students applaud. The class is over. Several students get up and cluster around Pauling. Others cluster around Einstein. The Einstein entourage moves downstage - a reporter among them.

REPORTER: Dr. Einstein. Dr. Einstein. Denise Gaines, Los Angeles Times. What did you think of Professor Pauling's lecture?

The cluster mutes itself to hear his response. Einstein shrugs and says...

EINSTEIN: It was too complicated for me.

Two students lure Einstein upstage into the cluster of people. Linus remains by the table.

REPORTER:(to Pauling) Dr. Pauling! Did having Einstein audit your lecture make you nervous?

LINUS: Relatively.

REPORTER: Can you tell us what your latest project is? What you're creating these days?

LINUS: Actually, I'm about to work on it right now, and I need to get into the lab. If you'll excuse me.

Linus trots over to the crowd and announces: "a test on Friday". The crowd exits, leaving Linus alone with Ava. She's been waiting by the lab table. Ava casually looks at some of his lab equipment.

ELDER PAULING: My wife, dear Ava Helen. A mature woman now. Twice as beautiful and three times as clever. On her surprise visits to the lab I had to keep all my wits about me.

LINUS: Hello, love. Here to inspect my machinery?

AVA: No, dear, (kisses him) You look ill. (feels his forehead) I'm on my way downtown, figured I'd stop by. I finished that book. I was wondering if you could slip it back in the library for me.

LINUS: Is it overdue?

AVA: No. This is that one title you said you'd never forget.

LINUS:How to Research Chemistry without Ending Up Divorced!

AVA: If only you'd read such fiction.

Ava holds up her book for him to see.

LINUS:Union Now. Union Now. Oh, it's, uh... due today?

AVA: Actually, not for another week.

LINUS: Maybe I'll give it a read. Any good?

AVA: Depends on your mood. It's a love story. A love affair.

LINUS: I thought it was a commentary on politics. A love affair?

AVA: A love affair with world peace. Anyway, it's due in a week. Keep it if you like. Make sure you stay warm.

He flips through the book's pages with an "I'll be damned" interest. She finds his coat and puts it on him without his knowing.

AVA: And make sure you ask Dr. Feller to check your blood sample.

LINUS: He's working on it as we speak.

AVA: Ciao.

Ava exits, leaving Linus engrossed in the book. He remains frozen in absorption as the Elder Pauling speaks to us.

ELDER PAULING: Never needing more touch than exactly sufficient, Ava knew precisely how to whet my appetite and precisely what mental meal I needed. A book on unifying nations! Critical tutorial for politically inept citizens such as myself.

Linus begins to pack up, moving around while still reading his book. A Grad Student enters, seeking Linus's attention.

ELDER PAULING: The days moved quickly around Caltech. A sort of feverish excitement about doing premiere research. I found myself at the helm, guiding a mass of great minds, sometimes expounding on more than just the current Molecule of the Month.

Linus emerges from his place of reading into conversation with the young grad student. Their conversation becomes audible as they move forward to upstage.

STUDENT: So, you're saying, "go to war?"

LINUS: I'm saying... Do you know that the year 1940 saw a world record for the number of nations threatened by destruction? That was just three months ago. I'm saying it's impossible for one nation to claim it has peace when (enter an unnoticed Noyes) there exists another nation somewhere on this globe that is at war.

STUDENT: But, it's Europe's problem.

LINUS: Is it?

STUDENT: It's not my problem.

LINUS: No, your problem is getting lab reports turned in on time.

STUDENT: Suffering cats! Is today Wednesday?

The student stops and drops his bag to fish out his tardy report. Linus marches off, on a crash course with Noyes, who seems to have overheard their conversation.

NOYES: Dr. Pauling!

LINUS: I know. I'm late for the luncheon.

NOYES:(sotto) I believe we've encouraged ourselves not to drop political messages on top of the malleable minds of these students.

LINUS: When should we drop them, then? When they're unmalleable? What good would that do? (of book) Have you read this? Union Now. It's wonderfully insightful. Take a peek.

ELDER PAULING: She didn't peek. She already had a plate full of concerns, starting now with that unique animal called the faculty party.

Big band music swings into volume. The two of them stroll toward the middle area of the stage where a faculty party has formed. A large group of professors and their wives stand around chatting, including Ava. Linus finds Doctor Feller.

LINUS: Doctor Feller. Doctor Feller! Hello. Uh, regarding those tests...

DOCTOR FELLER: Ah, yes. My precious outpatient. Your blood samples. Let's see if the numbers have come up.

Linus and Feller disappear off stage. Oppenheimer approaches Ava.

AVA: Robert Oppenheimer. Didn't know you were in town.

OPPENHEIMER: Ava Helen of Troy.

AVA: Your work has quite the reputation. Even Linus can't lacerate your latest research.

OPPENHEIMER: Dear Professor Pauling - where's he off to?

AVA: Aloof, perhaps.

OPPENHEIMER: He trusts you alone in a room full of stodgy old scientists?

AVA:(looks around) I don't think I've ever felt safer.

OPPENHEIMER: Ah, I doubt that. When Ava Helen walks the faculty floor, hypotheses fly.

AVA: Like an albatross without wind. Please, Robert, you make me seem the coy mistress.

OPPENHEIMER: "Seems," madam? Nay I know not "seems." If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide, by self-example mayst thou be denied.

AVA: I never argue in iambic pentameter; nothing rhymes with "touche."

OPPENHEIMER: You are the feistiest wit in the room, aren't you?

AVA: Only a room filled with stodgy old scientists.

OPPENHEIMER: Come with me. To Mexico.


OPPENHEIMER: I'm serious, (enter Linus and Dr. Feller) Come with me...to Cuernavaca. There's a small beach-side, white sand area with gentle surf. Don't say "no" until you let me paint the picture.

Linus comes up to them.

LINUS: Oppy, old friend. How are you, sir?

OPPENHEIMER: Hello, doctor.

AVA: Linus, what do you know about Mexico?


LINUS: I know it's usually south. Unless they switched the poles again.

OPPENHEIMER:(points across the room) Excuse me, I think I see Prof Jensen. He owes me a protractor.

Oppenheimer wanders off.

LINUS: Seemed a bit out of sorts. Was there something wrong?

AVA: Your good friend was just talking about having a little tryst to Mexico?

LINUS: I can't do it this week-

AVA: With me.

LINUS: You're not serious?

AVA: He's jealous.

LINUS: Jealous? In love?

AVA: Jealous, but if he's in love... it's not with me. It's with you. In love with Linus Pauling. Enamored with your talent. It was just a joke gone too far.

LINUS: Nothing to worry about. (smiles, falters)

AVA: Honey, you look flush. What did Doctor Feller say?

LINUS:(smiles) I'm not flush. I'm robust. Doctor Feller said I'm fi-

Linus collapses. Ava panics.

AVA: Linus! Oh, my God. Linus!

Doctor Feller rushes over. He kneels beside Linus. A crowd behind him. He tells Ava...

DOCTOR FELLER : He'll be OK. He'll be OK. It's a combination of stress and overexertion, I think-

Linus stirs. Ava and the crowd are relieved.

LINUS: A three point landing, yes?

AVA: Linus, what happened?

DOCTOR FELLER : Mrs. Pauling... there's something you should know about your husband. His condition is serious.

Linus is escorted upstage.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) Indeed, very serious. I had contracted what was known as Bright's disease, an affliction of the kidneys... formidable in a decade where there was not yet means for dialysis. Despite spending the majority of hours in bed, the possibility of remaining alive was small. The only slim sliver a chance that existed for me to stay alive was to follow the little-known advice of Dr. Thomas Addis, who had found an effective strategy, but one that few people could benefit from because adhering to its guidelines was a Herculean task. For you see, it dealt with the very critical issue of food.

The crowd exits. Doctor Feller and Ava have turned to bring Linus to lie on a couch. Linus lies down to rest. Doctor Feller exits.

Confined but Creative - 1941 (home setting)

Ava is rapidly attending Linus in bed, moving on and offstage, bringing pillows, trays, cups. Meanwhile, young Linus, Jr. lies on the floor doing homework and young Linda reads a list of "do's and don'ts" for her father.

LINDA: Doctor Addis prescribes a regimen of strict caloric counting. No salt. No protein. Lots of vegetables. Lots of rest. Lots of water. No smoking. No alcohol.

LINUS: No joy.

AVA: Joy is a decision.

LINUS: Try being joyful staying home from work for months on end.

AVA:Years on end possibly.

LINUS: Even better.

AVA: My biggest worry is you'll run out of taste buds.

LINUS: All these bland foods.

AVA: "All these"? "All these"? You're implying there's variety. Linus, love, I've been serving you the same thing everyday now.

LINUS: It looked like variety.

AVA: I switch up dish designs... for pizazz.

Linda returns to her homework.

LINUS: You make it so bearable, my love.

Ava walks up holding a covered tray.

AVA: I have a surprise.

LINUS:(starting to get up) You're going to let me waltz with you?

AVA:(pushing him back down) No. I finally conjured up an exotic dinner. One you're really going to salivate over, (she uncovers the dish of food) Escargot!

LINDA: Yuck.

LINUS: Escargot? From the fields of France.

AVA: From our back of yard.

LINUS: What? How?

LINDA: Mother spent all day hunting for supper.

LINUS: Oh, Angel of Mercy, you are too loving. (gets up)Please, let me waltz with you.

AVA: Linus. You're frail.

LINDA: She even scraped up her knees.

LINUS: What?

AVA: Linda!

Linda lifts up Ava's dress to expose her knees. Ava tries to hide her bruised knees.

AVA: Linda! It's really not...

LINUS: Your knees are quite bruised. From digging in the yard?

AVA: Linda, that's enough.

LINUS: So I could eat snails?

LINDA: You people disgust me.

AVA: Linus, nobody makes it through a saltless diet. They go stir crazy. I can't allow the most important chemical research in the world to disappear because my husband went insane for lack of food.

Without Ava's knowing, Linus signals for Linda to turn on the radio. Linda obliges.

LINUS: Now, I really must waltz with you.

AVA: Linus, you're too-

LINUS: I'm too frail. Yes, but it's precisely because I am frail that I cherish-

Linus loses his balance and starts falling. Dinner-tray-encumbered Ava goes to catch him. They lock in an awkward man-woman-tray embrace. They teeter and fall, bringing the tray down on top of him.

LINUS: I'm really down to earth, aren't I? (she laughs) It's not that funny.

AVA: Right, I shouldn't laugh at anyone who has a hair full of mollusks.

LINUS: I ruined dinner.

AVA:(grooming his hair) Not if I comb it out and it reheat it.

LINUS:(lifting himself with Ava's help) As I was saying before my fall from heaven-

AVA: Linus, you need to confine yourself to bed.

LINUS: Confine?! Waltz! I might die tomorrow...and, without a waltz, what would I have?

AVA: You'd have a widow and four orphans (looking at Linda) One who's getting a D minus in algebra.

LINDA: D plus. Mother, what's today's date?

LINDA: Mother, what's today's date?

AVA: It's the 7th of December.

LINDA: December 7th, 1941.

LINUS: You are my heart.

AVA: Your heart thinks you need to eat your dinner.

LINUS, JR.: Dad, how do you cross cancel?

LINUS:(still dancing) Numerators attack denominators.

LINUS, JR.: That doesn't help.

The music swells. Linus dances with Ava. All of a sudden the music is interrupted by

RADIO ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this program to deliver a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by air.

Ava stops dancing. Two steps later, so does Linus.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Repeat: The Japanese bombed Pearl harbor! At exactly 8:00am this morning was launched one of the most vicious surprise attacks in history. Over two thousand...

The Radio Announcer has entered faced out to audience, continuing the radio announcement.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...Americans were left for dead as the more than 100 US ships in the harbor were attacked. The question on everyone's mind is "what will the Japs do next?" Every household in the country now faces the threat of another brutal rampage by the evil denizens of the East. As a result of the bombing and the request of President Roosevelt, the Congress of the United States has declared war on Japan!

ELDER PAULING: I don't need to tell you how serious things became. The entire planet swept up in bloodshed. The situation spoke for itself. From salvaging old tires to designing missile shells, every U.S. citizen was affected by World War II - even I, a scientist at work in the war.

Science in the War - 1943 (lab setting)

Linus and several grad students gather around an apparatus on their laboratory table.

STUDENT #1: Why would it work like that?

LINUS: Light diffraction.

STUDENT #2: Who says the oxygen's gonna combust anyway? I heard, in the first place there's no smoking on ships.

STUDENT #3: Think about it, Lloyd! Soldiers on a submarine. Cramped up. No decent food. Of course, they're gonna smoke.

STUDENT #1: It's not just cigarettes. On a submarine any minor spark can ignite the oxygen. Even in your control panel. One over-excited arc and the cabin goes inferno.

STUDENT #3: One minor combustion and everything burns.

LINUS: Not if properly metered.

Oppenheimer enters unnoticed. He watches.

STUDENT #3: That's what I meant. Right.

STUDENT #2: So this is the device that meters oxygen, but how...

LINUS: Yes, how...

OPPENHEIMER: It diffracts the magnetic bulb's spectrum across a surface - the bulb in turn having responded to the slight magnetic variation caused by a rise or fall in the oxygen level of the submarine.

LINUS: Robert.

OPPENHEIMER: Linus, (to students) students. Would you fledgling Nobel Laureates mind giving me a nanosecond alone with Dr. Pauling?

Students excuse themselves with a chorus of "Excuse us, Dr. Oppenheimer."

OPPENHEIMER:(referring to gadget) Naval Submarine Oxygen Sensor.

LINUS: Always a keen sense of machinery, Robert.

OPPENHEIMER: You're the one who invented it. The Navy's bought up, then?

LINUS:Royal Navy. Not ours. We're not as practical as the British. But, I still wouldn't mind getting a few of these on board the home fleet.

OPPENHEIMER: So you're working hard for the war effort?

LINUS: Where I can, yes.

OPPENHEIMER: Good money?

LINUS: Busy.

OPPENHEIMER: Ever hear of Los Alamos?

LINUS: I might have.

OPPENHEIMER: You'd know.

LINUS: Speak your mind, Robert.

OPPENHEIMER: I'm sorry about what happened with Ava. I had a few too many faculty drinks.

LINUS: Stiffest beverage in the room was congealed coffee.

OPPENHEIMER: I'm still sorry. I - look, I have a special offer for you... In Los Alamos, hundreds of scientists from all over the country with millions of dollars in funding. The finest, grandest assembly of intellectual minds are to convene to undertake one of the most historical scientific developments of all time.

LINUS: A self-cleaning diaper?

OPPENHEIMER: Nuclear fission. The greatest energy harnessed right in the tiniest reaction. We're building the bomb that will end the war. I want you in charge of the entire chemistry division.

LINUS: I can't do it. I'm committed here.

OPPENHEIMER: You'd be among the top minds in America. You'd have access to the rarest radioactive tracers for your OWN research... tritium.

LINUS: I don't have the time. I'm doing well here. I'm busy. I respect your work, but I'm occupied.

OPPENHEIMER: I see. Well, good luck with your little oxygen sensor. Hope to see it out there.

Oppenheimer leaves.

LINUS: Don't hold your breath.

ELDER PAULING :(to audience) The war raged on. And with its barbaric behavior came the complexity of living in the world it ravished. Right in our home town came the persecution of Japanese people.

A young Japanese man steps out to center. As does Ava from the opposite side. He bows to her. They shake hands.

ELDER PAULING :(to audience) My courageous wife seized the opportunity to help a young man desperate for work, basically saving him from imprisonment. Indeed, the war brought chaos. Luckily, I kept good company. Dinner with the two highest ranking wise-crackers in the world. Number two, Albert Einstein, and number one, Ava Helen.

Einstein's Friendship - 1944 (home setting)

Linus, Albert, and Ava lounge in a living room drinking cocktails.

LINUS: So "c" is the universal maximum.

ALBERT: Yes. Unfortunately for race fans there is nothing faster than the speed of light.

AVA: There's the speed at which Linus spends his grant money.

ALBERT: Immeasurable, I've heard.

AVA: It approaches infinite mass.

ALBERT: A weighty statement

Ava and Albert giggle. She looks at him.

AVA: Those famous actresses were right: you have the sexiest eyes a woman's ever seen.

Ava sits coquettishly close to Albert, who helplessly looks to Linus.

ALBERT: My overstated powers of deduction tell me that I'm being flirted with.

LINUS: Watch out, Mr. Einstein, first she flirts, then she outdoes your IQ by fifty-five points.

AVA: Linus.

LINUS: Sorry, sixty-five points. But seriously, what fascinates me in relativity is the bending of light, which seems so irrational. One wonders exactly what is relativity.

ALBERT: Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.


ALBERT: But abstraction... yields to real affairs, (gets up, quickly) Your health, doctor? Still uh...?

LINUS: I'm fully recovered.

ALBERT: Thanks to keen determination.

LINUS: On the part of my wife. She made my impossible recovery possible. Ten years of culinary cunning.

ALBERT: Health. Yes. Healthy body and mind. Would you say: the cornerstones of a successful scientist?

LINUS: Not leaving out a scientist's main ally, time.

AVA:Occasional ally!

LINUS: Occasional, right. Time and timing. The sequence of who discovers and when. If a scientist is to make money, he must know that discovery is interdependent on being first.

ALBERT: And if he is to make good he must know that true science is interdependent with "helping people".

LINUS: Indeed, he must be dedicated to the task.

ALBERT: He must understand the task. But not blind pursuit of scientific truths.

AVA: People are more important than scientific truths.

ALBERT: Yes, this world turmoil... does it depress you?

LINUS: If I'd have to give World War II a single adjective I'd call it "appalling" but then I'd be naming it after myself.

He laughs at his joke.

ALBERT: Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the former.

They all laugh...sort of. They remain silent, lost in the magnitude of his words.

ALBERT: Therefore, we must have a drink.

They laugh.

AVA: You hear how they swoon over you? Young girls all over the world.

ALBERT: Perhaps they envy my hair.

LINUS: Your wisdom brings you quite a following.

AVA:(imitating a love-struck young girl) "You are a scientist, a master of reality. You know the innermost details of matter and therefore you know what really matters." (she playfully seduces him) "Do you see the gravity of the situation?"

ALBERT: Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love, (to Linus, about Ava) You'd do well to follow your heart with this one. She'll keep you researching the right material.

AVA: A toast.

ALBERT: To the role of the chemist.

AVA: May he find solutions.

LINUS: To friendship... and to spending grant money at the speed of light.

ALBERT:(to Ava) You keep fighting.

AVA: I will.

Ava steps forwarded, letting Albert and Linus exchange words in private behind her. She holds a letter.

AVA: I will fight. (facing out) Dear State Legislature, I am writing to you as a concerned citizen and strong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union. I am in outrage at the treatment of our fellow Japanese-American citizens. To suppose they present a threat simply because of their heritage uses the same logic the Germans use as they blame Jews for bad economics. Even if we feel threatened by the ravages of global warfare, we have no right to imprison Japanese people simply because of their heritage, none, unless he or she has been proven guilty in a court of law, through a fair trial. And note: out of the one hundred thousand Japanese inside the California prison camps, not a single person was put there because of a guilty verdict. They were put there because of skin color. An act that is not only unconstitutional, it is inhumane. In light of this injustice I defend my efforts to assist a Japanese citizen through strictly legal means.

While she continues, the young Japanese man enters the other side of the stage holding a rake. Overlapping Ava, he says a heartfelt...

NISSEI: Thank you.

...and exits.

AVA: Young Nissei has broken no laws. I have broke no laws in hiring this peaceful, good-hearted young man to be our gardener. Yet, I have...

The "Jap Lovers" - 1943 (home setting)

Linus emerges from the darkened stage into the light, a suitcase in one hand, a letter in the other, which he reads out loud to himself, continuing right where Ava left off.

LINUS: ...encountered the most hostile of response here in my own town. I blame such ill-favor on the... (mumbles) Please enclose... Yours, Ava Helen Pauling... (turns to Ava) Ava Helen, you cannot send a letter like this.

AVA: I'm sending it.

LINUS: Look, it's enough that you protest Japanese imprisonment. I don't like it either. But, this letter goes beyond-

AVA: It's unconstitutional, illegal, inhumane, racist! It's wrong.

LINUS: Yes, it's-

AVA: And being persecuted in our own neighborhood-

LINUS: Yes, let's consider that word, "persecuted"-

AVA: Because we hire one honest, law abiding citizen, who happens to have ancestors from another country, which is an irrelevant detail, but remains a decent person-

LINUS: Which I agree with-

AVA: They have no right to torment us!

LINUS: Which is all the more reason, the torment, to pacify things and instead-

AVA: I'm sending this letter, Mr. Pauling, whether you-

LINUS: My name is "Linus," or "Dear," or "Darling"-

AVA: POW imprisonment is wrong and harassment from neighbors is unacceptable.

LINUS: We hired a Japanese worker, Ava. In their eyes, in their eyes, we're harboring the enemy.

AVA: They're threatening us. And, thus, our children, your children.

LINUS: Let's not be reactionary, though. Perhaps the other side will make amends-

AVA: Those who support injustice cannot be trusted to make the right decision.

Linda and Peter come running excitedly from offstage.



LINDA: Did you see it?

PETER: You've got to see it!

LINUS: What?

LINDA: On our garage! Spray paint!

They follow Linda and Peter and look out. Linus gasps. On-screen: the image of the garage door of the Pauling home, spray painted with the words, "Americans DIE but we love Japs."

PETER: Why would they do that?

LINUS: I don't know.

The Sheriff emerges from the other side of the stage.

SHERIFF: Mr. and Mrs. Pauling.

LINUS: Officer, did you see...?

SHERIFF: All right, let's be calm. I was just over across the street. The neighbors called in quite a bit concerned about the situation here.

LINUS: "Situation"? It's vandalism.

AVA: "Vandalism"? It's a hate crime.

SHERIFF: Well... if we ever find the concerned citizen who did it...

LINUS: "Concerned..."?

AVA: If? What do you mean if?

SHERIFF: Any number of folk could have done this.

AVA: But, this is outrageous. What are we supposed to do?

SHERIFF: That's what you get for hiring a Jap.

Sheriff leaves.

AVA: Yes... well... all right, then...

Ava gets on the telephone, dials.

AVA: Hello. Hi, my name is Ava Helen Pauling. I need an emergency connection to the... This is an emergency. Does the term violation of civil liberties mean anything? I would like the FBI.


AVA: 2126 Hillcrest Avenue, Pasadena, California.

ELDER PAULING: Her dedicated involvement with the ACLU would be a true blessing that day. We failed to get local support, but on a federal level, Ava's case was too salient to be overlooked.

Two FBI agents enter. The image of the spray painted garage door still looms overhead on screen.

FBI AGENT: Mrs. Pauling, I'm Agent Morris Daniels, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ELDER PAULING: Poor man, he never knew what was about to hit him. Ava is quite contained under pressure, but the magnitude of the injustice was enough cause to make the lion roar.

FBI AGENT: Could you please tell us what happened?

AVA: What is this country made of when it sentences just, law-abiding citizens to tortuous, degrading imprisonment, without trial, without conviction, simply based on the morally contemptible, politically wicked, rationale of fear and prejudice and insecurity and weakness of character that they could simply ruin human lives without the slightest regard to the very fundamental-my God-even elementary school students understand, the basic rights we hold in this country!

Awkward pause

FBI AGENT:(to Linus) Could you tell us what happened?

LINUS: There's graffiti on our garage door. I'll show you.

We Explode the Atom Bomb - 1945 (world setting)

VIDEO: The spray painted words melt. An ominous descending pitch...

A sickening mushroom cloud blossoms on the horizon of Hiroshima, Japan. The atomic bomb bursts.

A curious Linus reads aloud from Life magazine.

LINUS: "From a core reaction of imploded uranium..." Fascinating...

His voice fades as he disappears off stage.

A crowd has gathered expectantly around the podium. There is much heated exchange. A few questions are hurled at the host, Robin, who tries to pacify things, speaking from the podium.

ROBIN: Many of you have questions, I know. But let's save the pithy discussion for after he gets here. Oh. (sees Linus coming on stage holding a sphere) Here. Ladies and gentlemen of the Rotary Club Los Angeles, let's welcome Dr. Linus Pauling of Caltech.


LINUS: Thank you. I understand your curiosity and concern about the atomic bomb. I'm not the foremost authority on the subject, but I will share what I have learned. I, uh, wanted to give you a hands-on demonstration of how the atomic bomb works, but Robin said the first rule for guest speakers is "don't blow up the lecture hall."

The crowd doesn't really laugh. Robin does. Linus holds up two halves of a coconut.

LINUS: So I procured the next best thing to explosives... Coconut shells. Fission works with large, unstable atoms. When hit by neutrons, these unstable atoms can be split, releasing the enormous energy holding the nucleus together and at the same time unleashing more neutrons, setting off a chain reaction. With a fast reaction, the result is a bomb, the core of which consists of a few pounds of a special isotope of uranium formed into the shape of a hollow sphere, like this coconut. The trick is to create a fission chain reaction that will split almost all of the atoms simultaneously. Surround the core with standard explosives, detonate, and...

He slaps the two hemispheres of the coconut together. A simultaneous sound of real bombs echoes in the distance.

LINUS: So you see, what we have here is not just a sharper sword, but a force to be reckoned with. Thank you.

Hesitant applause follows Pauling as he steps down from the podium and meets Ava downstage. Various audience members offer modest praise as they pass him by.

LINUS:(to Ava) I know. I know. Not detailed enough. If people are going to buy it, my facts need to be beyond speculation.

AVA: The facts are impeccable, Linus.

LINUS: The audience was quite shifty. It didn't seem right.

AVA: The numbers and the diagrams won't move audiences. Not when it comes to peace. The man who speaks of peace must research one place - the human heart.

LINUS: I'm not a cardiologist.

AVA: It's new, Linus. With science you easily moved people. But, this topic is new for you. It takes research. Toil.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) As with all profound matters - I was beginning to learn-my wife was not only right, she was punctual. Her critique of my action was the subtle first note of a grand orchestration. I was young...

From behind the lab, emerges Noyes.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) ...at the top of my field, accoutered with the finest lab and personnel in the country. I had the ripe opportunity to waltz right through the annals of science academia. But, Ava knew that my voice was needed elsewhere. So I had to choose...

From the other side of the stage emerges a Young Woman.

YOUNG WOMAN: Doctor Pauling, they will listen to you. You must help us.

NOYES: Linus. No one is better poised to lead the world in chemical research. The door to historical fame opens wide but brief. Science is your life's work.

YOUNG WOMAN: Doctor Pauling, radiation has destroyed my family-

NOYES: Linus. Discovery. Research. Recognition. Prestige. Power.

YOUNG WOMAN: If you could help us... They will listen to what you say.

Noyes motions for him to come, but Linus turns and follows the Woman offstage.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) I would be pulled away from science, torn from it, because Ava helped me see justice... and I chose to fight for it.

Scientists Speak Out - around 1947 (world setting)

From near darkness, four men enter and stand in an arc.

EINSTEIN: On the issue of war, I offer my thoughts, not to promote myself as an authority, but to exercise my voice as a member of the human race. In seeking our preservation, I call upon our role as scientists.

UREY: Indeed, the scientific community is obligated to respond.

LINUS: We, as scientists, have the most intimate knowledge of the atomic device.

SZILARD: Therefore, we shoulder the burden of controlling its use.

LINUS: Before the introduction of this incredible weapon, the act of war might have been a plausible method to determine and create world order. Now, in possessing a weapon of instant mass destruction, we are mathematically unable to benefit through the action of war.

UREY: In fact, with the presence of the atom bomb, war makes losers of all who play the game.

LINUS: But these acts of war, in fact involve people who do not play the game. It is shameful violence.

EINSTEIN: Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.

SZILARD: We must determine our action. Who here will join the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists?

EINSTEIN:(turns forward)I, Albert Einstein.

SZILARD:(turns forward)I, Leo Szilard.

LINUS:(turns forward)I, Linus Pauling.

ELDER PAULING:(simultaneously)I, Linus Pauling.

UREY:(turns forward)I, Harold Urey. And so we will work through understanding.

SZILARD: Dear Congressman...

UREY: Dear US Representative...

EINSTEIN: Dear Mr. President...

LINUS: As a member of the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists...

ELDER PAULING: I put forth to you my formal protest...

UREY: My denunciation...

EINSTEIN: My abhorrence. It is not necessary to imagine the earth being destroyed by a stellar explosion to understand vividly the growing scope of atomic war.

ELDER PAULING: We must categorically refuse the promotion of...

LINUS: ...and/or usage of atomic weapons.

UREY: Signed Harold Urey.

SZILARD: Signed Leo Szilard.

EINSTEIN: Albert Einstein.

LINUS: Linus Pauling.

ELDER PAULING: ...member, the Emergency Committee for Atomic Scientists.

Einstein, Szilard, and Urey exit.

ELDER PAULING: My activities for peace would bring forth attacks upon my character, my loyalty, my patriotism. I would be interrogated by investigating committees, awakened with early morning subpoenas.

Communist? Trial! - late 40's/early 50's (world setting)

Two officers escort Linus into a chair. Linus is seated in the foreground and two US judges loom in the background, seated atop risers.

OFFICER: Linus Pauling of the State of California!

JUDGE #1: We have before us a Linus Pauling of the state of California.

JUDGE #2: On the charge of endangering American lives.

LINUS: "Endangering?" What evidence?-

JUDGE #1: The evidence is overwhelming-

JUDGE #2: The evidence is incontrovertible-

JUDGE #1: The American people won't stand for it-

JUDGE #2: When national security is at stake-

JUDGE #1: Are you a communist, Mr...Pauling?-

JUDGE #2: What about your wife?-

JUDGE #1: Did you or did you not have a telephone conversation with Emilio Bar?-

JUDGE #2: National security comes first-

JUDGE #1: National security is a priority-

JUDGE #2: Mr. Pauling, are you aware of the implications here?

JUDGE #1: Doctor Pauling, let's review the matter.

JUDGE #2: Are you aware of Executive Order 9835? You understand the implications of Executive Order 9835?

LINUS: I believe so.

JUDGE #1: It specifically requires you to elaborate on the details...

LINUS:(begins to rise) I do not think that... (stops as guards advance)

JUDGE #2: Doctor Pauling, are you affiliated with any Communist movements?


JUDGE #1: Are you aware of the implications...?


JUDGE #2: The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists.

JUDGE #1: Newspaper article says you harbored suspected Japanese militants.

LINUS: One man! He was not a...

JUDGE #2: Doctor Pauling, are you affiliated with any associations directly or indirectly related to the communist movement?

LINUS: Once again-

JUDGE #1: Treason has, Dr. Pauling, a definite-

JUDGE #2: So you admit to harboring a Japanese militant-

JUDGE #1: Dr. Pauling, are you a communist?


JUDGE #2: You are aware you are under oath?


JUDGE #1: And the penalty of perjury shall be assigned-


JUDGE #2: So, let's ask this again...

JUDGE #1: Are you, Mr. Pauling, a communist?

LINUS:(rises) I am not a communist.

OFFICER: Clear it out!

Hate Mail - 1950's (world setting)

Ava comes across the stage to stand beside a weary Linus.

LINUS: I can hardly remember what country I'm in.

AVA: You did well. I'm proud. But, I'm worried...

Two postal workers with sacks approach them. As Ava speaks they each dump their sack full of postal letters on Linus's feet, forming a pile around him.

AVA: This obviously will not favor our reputation. There is a very strong force at work here. One that easily dominates the minds of those who make quick judgments. Unfortunately there are many people who make quick judgments.

Ava bends to read a few letters. She reads them aloud.

AVA: "Linus Pauling is a traitor." "What kind of scientist gives up on science?" "Go home, Commie... bastard." Red man... Red lover."

LINUS: My favorite color is blue.

AVA:(upset about a particular letter) Oh.

LINUS: You'd think I was actually convicted. What? (takes the letter, reads) "Dear Mr. Pauling (mumbles) Regret to inform you that your annual stipend of four thousand eight hundred dollars will be canceled due to a shortage of extra funds. Signed Eli Lilly and company. Extra funds? That was my salary. (laughs)

AVA: So... fearful.

LINUS: Sometimes I doubt... What do I do? Renege my beliefs.

AVA: No. Your beliefs might have gotten you in trouble, but now... they are your best friend.

LINUS: The title of "Linus Pauling's best friend" is already taken.

They embrace.

Hoover's Plot - 1950's (world setting)

Slow, steady beat of drum.

In the background looms the figure of FBI Chief, J. Edgar Hoover. Under a dim, clandestine lighting scheme, he confides in his Aide. Ava and Linus quietly exit. Drum beaten quickens.

AIDE: Mr. Hoover, you've heard the news?

HOOVER: There's no conviction on Pauling.

AIDE: Never thought I'd see the day when the FBI couldn't properly access records.

HOOVER: We'll have our access. The Bureau always extricates what it needs. I've gotten reports on Pauling. Reliable sources tell me he's not just a sympathizer, but one of the chief promoters of Communist treachery. But, it's a question of accessing his files.

AIDE: I'll take care of it.

Hoover exits. The Aide approaches another aide.

AIDE: In order to convict, we need evidence. To get evidence, we need access to his files. And in order to have access, we need his signature as a Federal worker. Do we understand what needs to be done?

AIDE#2: Yes.

Prolific Publishing - 1950's (world/lab setting)

During which, three radio announcers face out to audience. A janitor enters armed with push-broom and sweeps the litter of hate mail offstage.

NEWS ANNOUNCER: What a leap for science! Thanks to Doctor Linus Pauling of Caltech comes the advent of several brand new theories on molecular structure. Pauling offers us vivid three dimensional helix models. Comparable to a composer debuting seven new symphonies in a single day, Pauling introduces a wealth of structure theory at one time.

NEWS ANNOUNCER: In these years alone, he published some thirty plus papers, cutting-edge research in science. Anticipating a major achievement in the realm of DNA, Pauling sets his sights on England where he'll hold a critical research dialogue with fellow scientists.

NEWS ANNOUNCER: Indeed, the race to build DNA is here. Watson and Crick are hot on the trail, but who doubts that the seasoned teacher Pauling will bring enough wisdom to the problem to crack the case well ahead of the competition.

Structure and the DNA Race - 1950's (world setting)

Linus in lab at desk, next to a triple helix model of DNA. He's writing a letter, which he reads out loud.

LINUS: Dearest friend thank you for the great help. I have just recently completed the primary models for the prototypical protein. Yes, there are similarities, both in difficulty and in orientation to the DNA model. Both require a critical understanding of turning combination patterns. I'm leaving for Europe in two months. I look forward to meeting you in person so we can actuate the perfection of this groundbreaking model.

Hoover's Aides approach Pauling.

AIDE#1: Hello, Doctor.

LINUS:(somewhat startled) Hello...

AIDE#1: Relax, I'm about to flash a government ID (flashes badge, moves in) but this is only to make you feel safe. We're not here for any problems.

AIDE#2: On the contrary, we're here to enlist your talents, (moves in) We recently realized your name doesn't appear on our national roster of scientist research. We therefore thought it would be best to get you included on this important list.

LINUS: Oh, well, yes. Thank you. I'm honored that you'd come in person.

AIDE#2: You'll sign it?

ELDER PAULING: I look back on this moment, through the amicable eyes of retrospect, and marvel over how clever their plan was. By signing this simple paper that acknowledged my work for the country I had given them license to scrutinize my every detail, to access my files. This would prove to be of great nuisance later.

The Aides exit. Linus exits. The piercing roar...

The Anchored Shipley - late 1950's (world setting)

...of a jet engine whines from left to right.

Several scientists, packed with luggage cross the stage. Ava, Linus, and his Administrator, also carrying bags, enter. All head toward gate.

GATE ATTENDANT: Dr. Phillips: gate twelve. Dr. Beasley: gate twelve. Dr. Chakrati: gate ten.

ADMINISTRATOR: June 16th is your appointment with the state board. Two weeks from now you should get the parcel from Davidson. Your bill deferment is actually just getting underway.

AVA:If we get on the plane.

GATE ATTENDANT: Dr. Pauling: gate ten.

LINUS: Thank you. (to Ava) What do you mean ''if'?

Ava meets the Passport Officer at her post. Linus squares up with the Administrator.

LINUS: Only forward mail from the east coast. Nothing from the west. Just go ahead and open those. You have our address once we get to-

AVA: Linus.

LINUS:(to ADMINISTRATOR) Bottom line: keep everyone working.

Ava shows him a piece of paper she received from the Passport Officer.

LINUS:(reading the paper) I don't understand. All our papers are in order. Vaccinations. Expiration dates. Why isn't it going through?

AVA: We have to be in Europe by tomorrow night. Very critical research depends on it.

PASSPORT OFFICER: I'm sorry. I have orders from Ms. Shipley, that these papers are not yet ready for approval.

LINUS: We understand there's been review, but surely you realize... Ruth Shipley? Without our passports we cannot travel. And we need...

PASSPORT OFFICER: It's not my decision.

AVA: But everything is in order.

Unbeknownst to Ava and Linus Ruth Shipley appears behind them, observing the spectacle with relish.

PASSPORT OFFICER: Not according to Ms. Shipley. There's-

AVA: May we speak with her directly, then?

PASSPORT OFFICER: I'm sorry, but-

SHIPLEY: Mr. Pauling.

Linus turns to confront her.

LINUS: Ms. Shipley.

AVA: Ms. Shipley, I'm Ava Helen Pauling. This is Professor Linus Pauling. We are desperately in need of expeditious clearance here. You see, there's research on DNA-

SHIPLEY: I'm sorry, we cannot clear the paperwork.

LINUS: But, we're law-abiding citizens, traveling for purely academic reasons.

SHIPLEY: Mr. Pauling, it is not in the-best interests of this country for you to travel abroad.

LINUS: If you're referring to any... strange communist affiliation that I'm suspected of, I can assure you that- (searches in his coat) I have an affidavit, under oath. I state that I am not, nor have ever been, associated with, directly or indirectly, any Communist affiliation so the-

SHIPLEY: If you'll excuse me-

LINUS: But, you see? We're valid for travel.

SHIPLEY: Passport denied.

LINUS: Why? How?

SHIPLEY: It's my decision. I've decided.

Shipley leaves them in their silent anger. A loud jumbo jet passes over.

DNA Discovered - 1953 (world setting)

Ava and Linus remain on stage.

Cheers erupt from an entering group of people. Reporters and cameramen. They surround Dr. Watson and Dr. Crick. Crick holds high a double helix model.

Reporters ask a flurry of questions, "Dr. Watson! Dr. Crick! The double helix...!" etc.

One reporter faces forward while the commotion continues.

REPORTER: Cavendish Lab. Cambridge, England. What town could be more significant? At long last, the race is won. The mysterious structure of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, unveiled by Doctors James Watson and Francis Crick, seen here, now holding their prized double helix.

ANOTHER REPORTER: There was heavy competition to be first. To what do you attribute your success?

CRICK: Fortuitous time! If a scientist is to succeed he-

WATSON: -or she-

CRICK: -must know that discovery is interdependent on being first. Other people were... It's just... the sequence of who discovers and when.

WATSON: Who discovers and when.

LINUS: Who discovers and when.

More questioning. Subdued. "What makes a good scientist?" etc. .. .as they retreat back off stage.

LINUS: He must be dedicated to the task, (weakens) I feel sick.

AVA:(holding him) We come to an impasse. We adjust our course and advance along a different line.

U-bomb - 1954 (world setting... home setting)

Darkness. A blast and flash of light. Blackout.

A far off explosion of tremendous magnitude.

Then, a reporter enters...

REPORTER:(to audience) A day of American pride. Bikini Island - the newly perfected U-bomb... a bomb twenty times more powerful than the Hydrogen bomb, fifty times more powerful than the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima.

A Japanese tuna fisherman faces the audience, covered in white ash. He speaks Japanese, his words overlapped by an English translator who interprets to the audience. Two doctors probe him for maladies.

FISHERMAN: I saw a blinding light...

FISHERMAN: A loud, loud burst. I thought I was dreaming...

Ava and Linus, still carrying their bags, make their way down from upstage. They stand on opposite sides of the periphery, watching the scene.

FISHERMAN: The end of the world.

DOCTOR: His gums are bleeding.

FISHERMAN: Everyone on our ship was covered with white ash.

Ava is standing next to a radio on a small table. Something catches her ear. She bends to listen to it.

FISHERMAN: And two days later I had the worst flu of my entire life.

DOCTOR: Hair falls out easily.

AVA: Linus.

She turns up the radio. There's a crackle.

FISHERMAN: Thank you for your time.

REPORTER: The United States has exploded its first test, successfully taking an entire mid pacific island off the planet. Indeed, this is a triumph. We have delivered a clear message. We are the premiere superpower in the world today. No country has more firepower than we do. God bless America!

Tinselly patriot music crackles out of the radio.

The Fisherman and his group disappear into the darkness, leaving Ava and Linus alone.

She turns off the radio and looks to him.

LINUS: line

Ava takes his bags. He walks over to the lab area.

The Lion Roars His Wisdom - 1954 (lab setting)

LINUS: Ladies and gentlemen, today I speak without flourish. I speak without design. I speak only of cold hard facts. For that is all that is needed here. The situation has reached an extreme where the cry for humanitarian action is so shrill that one cannot ignore it and one need no embellished speech to understand the urgency. The United States has just exploded the most obscene weapon in the history of man. This weapon has the familiar mechanism of the atom bomb and its successor, the H-bomb, and it has the familiar dangers of the radiation by-products we've all heard of. However the blast from this U-bomb is so powerful that what was before considered somewhat mistakenly as a "marginal threat" must now be feared as a known hazard. A deadly hazard. The U-bomb blasts its impact so high that the radiation projects well beyond the upper stratosphere, well above 100,000 feet. And what's frightening about that cold hard fact is the other cold hard fact that anything floating at such high altitudes can circumnavigate the globe within five days. We may drop the bomb on an enemy nation, but its blast comes fatefully back to hang over our heads. Radiation affects our bones, our cells, our unborn children. There are those that have only partially advocated the bomb, in its use for extreme situations to protect our best interests, but I say that here, if we have in our best interests to keep living after the fight, we dare not deploy one of these weapons. We dare not use it, we dare not test it - as the case of the "not so" Lucky Dragon crew pointedly shows. Those that continue to support the use of this weapon are either ignorant or reckless and I unabashedly deplore their action. It is wrong to use this weapon.

Impassioned applause. Lights up on the crowd: students, wearing backpacks. Pauling steps down. Applause continues

LINUS:(to Ava) Think they heard me?

AVA: I sure did.

Ava embraces Pauling.

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling. Dr. Pauling. Can I get a reaction?

LINUS: To my own lecture?

REPORTER: No, your... You obviously haven't heard the news.

LINUS: Which news is that?

REPORTER: You won the Nobel Prize.

LINUS: Come again.

REPORTER: The Nobel Prize. Chemistry. You won.

Caltech Gala (lab setting)

...the lively music bounces through the room. Lights up on: a party.

From the other side of the stage (and moving toward center) comes a wealth of applause and good feeling from faculty and students. They enter singing "Stockholm, Sweden, Here We come!" (to the tune of "San Francisco, Here I come").

Words of congratulations come like cheers from a sports crowd. Two students hold aloft a congratulatory banner.

STUDENT: Behind every great man is an even greater woman.

Cheers as Ava is pushed to the front.

STUDENT: But even great women have their share of... mortal moments. Let's step back a few years and visit the vulnerable young Ava Miller when she first met Linus.

ALL:(teasingly) Linus and Ava.

To the tune of "La Habanera" (of Carmen)...

Woman emerges from crowd. Man places chair facing Linus, singing base line. Woman begins singing, approaches Ava. Ava offers hat. Woman dons hat, sits, woos Linus.

WOMAN: I remember: I was a teenager. When a young professor made my heartbeat sing. You and me - it was chemistry. I said I'm Ava H. Miller. He was Linus Pauling. Chapter one of our bonding fun: He had me orbiting the center of his scientific eyes. I thought it was quantum. He had just begun and... He made all my tiny atoms ionize.

Woman take Ava's hand, twirls in and around Ava, leading her across stage.

WOMAN: Ionize. Ionize. Ionize. Ionize!

CHORUS:(overlapping) Chapter one of their bonding fun: She was orbiting the center of his scientific eyes. She thought it was quantum. He had just begun and... He made all her tiny atoms ionize.

Ava and woman lure Linus over.

WOMAN: Ionize your conscience. Awake your senses. She sets your passion where your passion can act. Uxorious chemist while she's flirtatious, Opposite charges... they do attract!

Linus dips Ava!

CHORUS: They do attract!

WOMAN: My self – I give it. My self – I give it to a Noble life.

Woman mounts chair, doffs hat and places it on Ava's head.

CHORUS: They do attract!

WOMAN: My self – I give it. My self I give it. And I'll be your wife!

Linus and Ava tango around the chair.

CHORUS: Ionize your conscience. Awake your senses. She sets your passion where your passion can act. Uxorious chemist while she's flirtatious, Opposite charges... they do attract!

ALL: Speech! Speech!

LINUS: Since brevity is the soul of wit. I offer a heartfelt thank you.

A burst of applause and laughter almost finishes when two students jump up.

STUDENT: We wrote a song. It's not pretty. It's not intelligent. It's not laudatory. But, it rhymes!

STUDENT: Who says scientists can't be poetic?


STUDENT:(to the tune of "Are You Sleeping? ") Linus Pauling. Linus Pauling. Getting old.

ALL: Getting old.

STUDENT: But he's got his eyesight. And he's got the prize right. Nobel Gold.

ALL: Nobel Gold.

STUDENTS: Ava Pauling.

ALL: Ava Pauling.

STUDENTS: Getting bored.

ALL: Getting bored.

STUDENTS: But now she's got a reason to stick with Mr. Treason.

ALL: Nobel Gold. Nobel Gold.

Crowd sings "For he's a Jolly Good Fellow," exiting with Linus on second verse. Through the crowd emerges Elder Pauling carrying a blanket.

ELDER PAULING: I can't really condemn myself for indulging in the glory of it all. But, a visit with Albert Einstein helped me put things in perspective.

Seeing Einstein One Last Time - 1955 (home setting)

From the other side of the stage comes Albert Einstein. He sits. Linus watches as Elder Pauling places a blanket over Einstein. Elder Pauling then leaves.

EINSTEIN:(to Linus) My dear friend. How nice to see you. Got all your wits about you today? Nothing like a Nobel prize to stare at as if in stupor.

LINUS: It's been an amazing few weeks.

EINSTEIN: I'm glad that you're using your newfound fame to speak out against these Communist witch hunts. Helping old Oppenheimer. Good.


LINUS: How did you feel? 1922?

EINSTEIN:(laughs) My gift from Nobel? Happy, I can't deny. But I realize now we should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

LINUS: Ever the wise.

EINSTEIN: Wise in hindsight. Like a man who predicts yesterday's weather.

LINUS: People yearn to live without regrets... and they think of you.

EINSTEIN: I made one great mistake in my life... when I signed the letter to Roosevelt, recommending that atom bombs be made. My only excuse was that I thought the Germans were doing the same thing.


EINSTEIN: Have you ever heard of Count Oxenstierna? He was a seventeenth century chancellor of Sweden. He said to his son, "You would be astonished to know with how little wisdom the world is governed." (checks his watch) Better not be late for that train, huh?

ELDER PAULING: Albert Einstein died five months later. That was my last occasion to see him.

Einstein exits. Symbolically dying. Linus is alone. Ava enters.

Action (world setting)

LINUS: It's just so... hard. I feel so alone. When the general public persecutes your ideas...

AVA: We mustn't fall. There's so much at stake. It's easy to despair, wondering what shall keep us, protect us. Will it be truth, the fact that we fight for what's right? Are you afraid?

LINUS: I love you. (kisses her)

ELDER PAULING: Ava and I would travel. First, to Sweden, to meet the royalty and undertake the grand reception they bestow upon their Nobel Laureates. After a wealth of recognition we traveled to India and met Nehru. Throughout this trip I was impressed how everyone shared an earnest desire for peace. Upon arriving home, not only was I newly motivated, but someone else had taken the podium, a familiar face.

Linus takes his place at a podium facing left. Ava takes her place at a different podium facing right. They alternate deliverance of their individual lectures.

AVA: The threat of war is more than a threat to government powers...

LINUS: It's a threat to the decent lifestyle of everyone on earth.

AVA: As women of the WILPF, we must follow our protective instincts. As global citizens-

LINUS: -we must consider-

AVA: -now, in the face of giant nuclear arsenals, possessed by one, then two, then three nations, there exists no opportunity for fighting which does not bring with it absolute annihilation of society. (holds up a petition) The petitions that you are signing today...

LINUS:(also holds up petition) ...are signatures of protest. Any offset of the equilibrium of peace is a total offset, a complete loss. Our petitions are statements for rational, humanitarian, visionary-

Two Court Officers bluntly accost Linus...

COURT OFFICER: Doctor Linus Pauling, you are hereby summoned to appear before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

The Officer hands Linus the summons, which he takes.

LINUS: This is rather short notice!

SISS – 1960 (world setting)

One Officer barks orders at dutiful attendants who convert the stage to a courtroom. The officer fetches a defendant's chair. Dodd and the Judge enter. Ava summons a crowd of supporters. A flag bearer hangs the US flag over the scene.

OFFICER: Clear it out! Chair! Podiums!

Linus's Lawyer confers with Linus. The crowd becomes loud with talk.

DODD: Quiet. Quiet! (seizes and bangs butt of flag pole, hands pole back to flag bearer) The people will remain mute. As we begin our investigation...

JUDGE: Counsel will please step back.

Counsel obliges, merges into the crowd.

JUDGE: Let this session commence-

DODD: On this issue of gathering signatures. Linus Pauling has collected a lengthy list.

JUDGE: Twenty-five hundred names. Twenty-five hundred scientists.

DODD: No small number, Mr. Pauling.

JUDGE: Certain facts cannot be overlooked.

DODD: You're good at math; you understand how large a number-

JUDGE: Suspect!

DODD: -Twenty-five hundred is.

JUDGE: Highly suspect.

DODD: Twenty-five hundred is large, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Pauling?

JUDGE: It's a matter of evidence.

DODD: The evidence is disappointing-

JUDGE: The evidence is incontrovertible-

DODD: American people won't stand for it-

JUDGE: National Security is at stake-

DODD: Tell us who's helping you.

JUDGE: Give us names.

DODD: Are you a communist, Mr. Pauling?-

JUDGE: What about your wife?-

DODD: The signing of petitions?-

JUDGE: National security comes first-

DODD: National security is a priority-

JUDGE: How did you get the names, Mr. Pauling?

DODD: The names.

JUDGE: Dr. Pauling, are you a communist?


JUDGE: You are aware you are under oath?


AVA: You have no right to scrutinize him.

JUDGE: Quiet.

DODD: Twenty-five hundred signatures on a single list.

JUDGE: Impossible.

DODD: The only way a man could-

JUDGE: Not alone.

DODD: -canvass like that, would require…

JUDGE: Communist support!

DODD: Very simple. Tell us who helped you gather these-

LINUS: I will not!

JUDGE: You are aware you are under oath?


JUDGE: And the penalty of perjury shall be assigned-

AVA: You have no right to scrutinize him. He's an ordinary citizen like-

JUDGE: Contain yourself, Mrs. Pauling.

DODD: On the contrary, Mrs. Pauling, we have a writ from Central Records, bearing your husband's signature and thus establishing yourself in the highly "scrutinizable" occupation of government worker.

Hoover's two Aides enter and present Dodd with a document.

LINUS: But, that's-!

DODD: Do you deny signing it, Mr. Pauling?

LINUS: No, sir. But that is simply-

Counselor steps out to briefly confide with Linus.

DODD: Might I suggest you take advice from your legal counsel. You were able to gather seven hundred signatures in less than one month. This kind of act requires systematic support. Yet, no government support was available, not from the United States. Thus, it must be certain that Communist support was a factor. We therefore order you to reveal the names of any and all parties involved in helping you gather these signatures.

LINUS: I'm not sure I can do that.

DODD: Who sponsored these petitions?

LINUS: I cannot-

DODD: The names, Mr. Pauling.

LINUS: I really-

DODD: The names.

JUDGE: The names.

AIDE#2: The names.

AIDE#1: The names.

DODD: Give us the names, Mr. Pauling.

The two officers march forward and yank Linus out of his seat to face audience. Silence. Linus looks at his Counselor. She nods "no".

LINUS: The circulation of petitions is an important part of our democratic process. If it is abolished or inhibited, it would be a step toward a police state. No matter what assurances the subcommittee might give me concerning the use of names, I am convinced the names would be used for reprisals against these enthusiastic, high-minded workers for peace. I will not provide you with their names! ...regardless of the penalties you dangle before me.

The crowd applauds wildly.

JUDGE: Order. Order!

A woman in the seats, Elsa Jehle, stands...

ELSA JEHLE: My name is Elsa Jehle and I am proud to say that I was one of the people who circulated the petition.



VARIOUS OTHERS: So did I. I helped.

The courtroom erupts with these exclamations... until finally...

DODD: This session...! This session adjourns. Although we have strong reason to continue our probe... we will conclude current investigation... until further notice.

The crowd floods over to Linus and congratulates him.

ELDER PAULING: Of course, when Dodd dismissed the case I was elated, but the inquisitor's drilling had become a sadly familiar refrain. I found myself depressed... but not stuck. There was still work to be done. On April 19 1962, I could be found at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.

Protest and Petition - 1962 (front of White House)

Mostly young people march with picket signs outside the White House. There is much activity and energy. Several reporters are on the scene.

REPORTER: We're here live out side the White House where protesters have accelerated their efforts to be heard. Among the mostly youthful crowd is veteran "radical" Linus Pauling...

Linus carries a protest sign. A photograph is taken, which immediately is projected (and faded) on the film screen above.

REPORTER:(to Pauling) Doctor Pauling, what action will you be taking?

LINUS: I'm collecting signatures... anyone interested in having a decent life.


LINUS: I'm going to hold my sign and parade around the White House, then I'm going to go inside and have dinner with the President.

Protesters and Linus exeunt. A second reporter enters. Music begins.

REPORTER: All in a day's work. Thank you, Doctor Pauling, (to audience) Live at the nation's capitol... just what's cooking inside the oval office?

REPORTER: A dinner party. And who's invited? (enter doorman) Only everybody's who's anybody. Silver screen starlets, rocket scientists, geniuses. This is a party not soon forgotten.

Dinner at the White House - 1962 (White House setting)

Bolero (midway through).

A number of world-renown scientists and celebrities dressed to the nines queue up for entrance, announced by a heralding doorman.

HERALD: Welcome honored guests. May we present... Mrs. Mitzi Newhouse, Mr. And Mrs. Kensington Scott, Mr. Bill Libby, Mr. Gerald Piel, Mrs. Eleanor Piel, Doctor Linus Pauling, Mrs. Ava Helen Pauling.

Ava and Linus enter.

HERALD: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States and the First Lady.

John F. and Jackie Kennedy come downstage greeted by applause. Music stops.

JFK: Doctor Pauling, it's an honor.

LINUS: The honor's mine, Mr. President.

JFK: I hope you checked your picket sign at the door. Let's see if we can get things started. There are rumors about dinner being served. (to all) Hello, all. Thank you for coming. This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone, (crowd laughs). Please make yourselves at home and avoid any members of congress who might spoil your appetite.

The Air Force Rolling Strings orchestra plays the waltz from "Swan Lake".

AVA: Beautiful music.

JACKIE: It's the Air Force Rolling Strings Orchestra.

AVA: Is it customary to dance here?

JACKIE: Not really.


Mrs. Scott walks across stage to dance with Linus and, two-by-two, other couples join in an elegant dance.

Eventually, Linus winds up with Ava. They dance slowly center, while the others slowly stop dancing and stand behind the Paulings, watching. Elder Pauling enters.

Twilight – 1963 (world)

ELDER PAULING: Soon after came one of the most amazing victories in my career for peace.

From the perimeter of the stage, JFK comes forward and announces...

JFK: My fellow Americans, with these significant pen strokes, I hereby undersign the US/USSR test ban treaty. We will no longer conduct above-ground, undersea testing of nuclear weapons.

The dimly lit figures surrounding Linus and Ava applaud.

ELDER PAULING: It was a true triumph, one that ran second only to the highly publicized year...

A VOICE: 1963. We hereby award the Nobel Peace prize to Doctor Linus Pauling of America for his efforts toward world peace.

Applause and flash bulbs from the perimeter (the ballroom actors now serving as reporters).

REPORTERS: Speech. Comment. Speech, (etc.)

LINUS:(gazing into Ava's eyes) This award means so much to me because it validates what I've been doing. Whereas with science I toiled freely because it was my passion, my efforts for peace were a struggle. I seemed to be running counter to popular opinion. This hurt. To earn the award is a great validation. I cherish it. I deeply thank the many mentors who guided me to the truth of humanity – a long, lengthy list of great minds and great hearts, at the top of which is the most incredible heart I know, my teacher, my best friend, my wife, Ava Helen.

Flash! Boom! A photograph! .. .followed by a salvo of questioning.

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling, how does it feel to win two Nobel prizes?

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling, if I can have one question?

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling, where do you plan to go?

REPORTER: Can you make a statement regarding your plans for the future?

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling, what will you next?

REPORTER: A second Nobel prize.

REPORTER: Will you continue protesting?

REPORTER: Are you content with the current political climate?

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling!

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling!

REPORTER: Dr. Pauling!


REPORTER: Dr. Pauling!

The figures in the rear fall into darkness.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) This award came when I was at the young age of sixty-two. I went on to contribute as best as I could to orthomolecular research, endeavoring to expose a greater understanding of vitamins and spurring the world's great enthusiasm for the benefits of Vitamin C. However one might evaluate these accomplishments, my greatest choice was to listen to my wife. It was unthinkable to have her look down on me, so I made it a life's mission to be honorable in her eyes. She passed away a decade before my most recently remembered contributions to science.

Ava slowly slides away from Pauling.

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) It shook me to the core.

Ava backs away through the arc, parting from Linus. The arc re-closes after she leaves. Then all leave, Linus last, as...

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) She had been the heartbeat within me, driving my talents and muscle to walk along a noble path. Losing her could've paralyzed me, but I resolved that my life would go on.

A FILM MONTAGE of Ava's memorable moments with Linus appears on screen, while the Elder Pauling continues...

The Classroom - 1990's (lab setting)

ELDER PAULING:(to audience) I might go now to the scene of my very first meeting with Ava. Classroom E-35 at Oregon State University. The auspicious occasion, a mutual bedazzling of souls.

Elder Pauling crosses the darkness into the dim light of the classroom setting where he originally met Ava over sixty years ago.

He holds up a notebook, searching through a list of names to find Ava Miller's. He finds it and calls out into the silence.

ELDER PAULING: What can you tell me about the chemical properties of Ammonium Hydroxide? looks at the notebook Miss... Miller?



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