Linus Pauling: And the Chemistry of Life

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Linus Pauling was the most important chemist, and arguably the most important American scientist, of the 20th century. From his description of the chemical bond to his discovery of the cause of sickle-cell anemia and his groundbreaking work with vitamin C, his work leaped over the boundaries of disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, immunology, nuclear physics, and more. Now in this exciting new biography, acclaimed science writer Tom Hager brings Pauling's wide range of scientific accomplishments ...
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Overview

Linus Pauling was the most important chemist, and arguably the most important American scientist, of the 20th century. From his description of the chemical bond to his discovery of the cause of sickle-cell anemia and his groundbreaking work with vitamin C, his work leaped over the boundaries of disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, immunology, nuclear physics, and more. Now in this exciting new biography, acclaimed science writer Tom Hager brings Pauling's wide range of scientific accomplishments vividly to life while also shedding light on Pauling's activities outside the scientific realm.

Profiles the Nobel Prize-winning chemist who described the nature of chemical bonds, made important discoveries in the fields of quantum mechanics, immunology, and evolution, and used his scientific fame to help advance political causes.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
These two books are part of the same series and share a similar format. They both have lots of pictures and interesting material in asides set off by boxes. However, they are very different in their approach to their subjects. Hager has drawn a warm, caring portrait of Linus Pauling, focusing more on the man and his life than on the science that made him so well known. On the other hand, Edelson's book might have been titled "A Portrait of DNA." While he does give some insights into the lives of Watson and Crick, his main concentration is on the development of molecular genetics, particularly the story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. In a brief opening chapter, Edelson sums up the entire book. The next chapter brings the separate lives of Watson and Crick up to the point where they meet at Cambridge University where their work on DNA was done. Edelson then spends two chapters giving a brief summary of the work in genetics, beginning with Mendel, which led up to the conclusion that DNA was the carrier of genetic information. The story of how Watson and Crick came to the idea of the double helix structure of DNA is told in a single chapter. Edelson then follows the rest of the lives of Watson and Crick as they went their separate ways. He first discusses the development of the understanding of the way in which DNA controls the form and actions of all biological molecules, emphasizing the contributions made by Crick. Then in a final chapter Edelson tells the story of the human genome project and the role that Watson played in it. The writing is general enough that it should be accessible to anyone who has taken introductory courses in biology and chemistry. In his book on LinusPauling, Hager writes entertainingly of how Pauling pursued his interests in chemistry. He writes about Pauling's career in chemistry: his enrollment in Oregon Agricultural College at age 16 (without a high school diploma), his graduate studies at Cal Tech, his year in Europe where he learned firsthand about quantum mechanics as it was developing, and his return to Cal Tech where he spent most of his professional life as a chemist, culminating in the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954. Hager follows Pauling's interest in molecules of biological interest and the many ideas that he contributed in this area. He tells of Pauling's failed attempt to beat Watson and Crick to the structure of DNA and of his interest in the chemistry and use of vitamins and minerals, particularly in large doses of vitamin C. Into this presentation of Pauling's life as a chemist, Hager integrates the story of Pauling as a crusader for peace, particularly his work on banning atmospheric testing of atomic weapons that led to Pauling's Nobel Peace Prize in 1963. He also tells of the important place that Pauling's wife Ava Marie Miller played in his personal and professional life. This book is a warm, admiring portrait of one of the outstanding chemists and advocates of peace of the 20th century. It should serve as inspirational reading to any student interested in pursuing a career in the sciences. It should be easily accessible to anyone who has had a brief introduction to chemistry. (Oxford Portraits in Science) KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Oxford Univ. Press, 142p, 24cm, 97-43403, $11.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Chuck Weber; Science & Math Teacher, Rochester, MN, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This well-written biography of the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is truly a portrait of a "scientific giant." Pauling's research achievements in chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine are clearly discussed in relation to his life. One-to-two page sidebars offer additional information about the nature of the chemical bond, the molecular structure of proteins, Vitamin C, and other topics that engaged his interest. Pauling's use of his recognition as a scientist to advance political causes and the problems that this activism caused him (FBI and other governmental investigations, attacks by the press, cancellation of research grants, etc.) is given equally fine coverage. Black-and-white photographs of the scientist and reproductions of handwritten pages from his notes and speeches illustrate the text. The extensive list of further reading by and about the Nobel Prize winner and his political and scientific interests will be useful to students stimulated by this engaging title.-Carolyn Angus, The Claremont Graduate School, CA
Kirkus Reviews
In this well-written biography in the Portraits in Science series, the life of Nobel Prizeþwinning chemist Linus Pauling proves a captivating and inspiring story. Hager (for adults, Force of Nature, 1995, also on Pauling) presents a clear-eyed but compassionate account of Pauling's days, from his childhood grief over the death of his father, through a pressured adolescence at odds with a distant mother, to the sense of fulfillment and freedom he found as an undergraduate in Oregon, and later, as a grad student and beloved professor at CalTech. No discipline proved too difficult for Pauling to master, whether it was biochemistry, quantum mechanics, or evolution. While frequent sidebars throughout the book highlight particular theories, it is Hager's discussion of each as it related to Pauling's life that resonates. Readers will find it extraordinary that Pauling was criticized, in the 1950s, for speaking out against the development of nuclear weapons and on the dangers of atomic fallout, and that, just as extraordinarily, he was awarded a second Nobel Prizeþfor peace. (b&w photos, chronology, further reading, index) (Biography. 12-15)
From the Publisher

"Pauling is a unique icon in the world of chemistry.... [This book] is a quick read that uses black-and-white illustrations to bring the story of a notable scientist and hero to a general audience. For advanced middle and high-school students, this book will bring the human dimension to their study of chemistry."--Science Teacher

"In this well-written biography... the life of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling proves a captivating and inspiring story."--Kirkus Reviews

"The author... has done an excellent job in capturing the essence of this complex and controversial genius in a single slim, highly readable volume.... This book is easy to read, well illustrated, and contains a useful compilation of further readings. I recommend it highly."--Science Books & Films

"This well-written biography...is truly a portrait of a 'scientific giant.' Pauling's research achievements in chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine are clearly discussed in relation to his life...fine coverage... The extensive list of further reading by and about the Nobel Prize winner and his political and scientific interests will be useful to students stimulated by this engaging title."--School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195108538
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Series: Oxford Portraits in Science Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2006

    hey

    hey the book was alright i think u need to have at least one KYLE though because that is a really sweet name and people would read your book more i mean look u only have 5 comments come on and what kindo of name is linus any way w/b

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