Linus Pauling in His Own Words: Selections from His Writings, Speeches and Interviews

Linus Pauling in His Own Words: Selections from His Writings, Speeches and Interviews

by Linus Pauling, Barbara Mirinacci
     
 

Linus Pauling was a scientific genius, the only winner of two unshared Nobel Prizes. But he was also an original, often controversial thinker whose knowledge encompassed an astonishing range of disciplines. A theoretician by nature, he was as active outside of the laboratory as he was in it and was especially outspoken on the obligations of the scientist to society.…  See more details below

Overview

Linus Pauling was a scientific genius, the only winner of two unshared Nobel Prizes. But he was also an original, often controversial thinker whose knowledge encompassed an astonishing range of disciplines. A theoretician by nature, he was as active outside of the laboratory as he was in it and was especially outspoken on the obligations of the scientist to society. He was probably better known for his political activism and his championing of vitamin C than for his brilliant contributions to structural chemistry and molecular biology. Culled from sixty years of his essays, books, speeches, and interviews, and selected with the general reader in mind, Linus Pauling in His Own Words is the first anthology of Pauling's writings, with an introduction that Pauling himself completed only months before his death in 1994. Pauling was even more passionate about his social activism than he was about his science. Despite the threat to his professional reputation, he crusaded on behalf of world peace and against atomic weaponry. He denounced the testing of nuclear weapons (his own radiation research helped bring about a ban on testing in the atmosphere, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize). At an address he gave to assembled university students in 1954 upon the receipt of his first Nobel Prize, Pauling put his own philosophy into words: "Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect...always think for yourself."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Pauling's scientific career spanned nearly the entire 20th century, from his revolutionary Nobel Prize-winning theories on the chemical bond to his controversial work on orthomolecular medicine and vitamin therapy, which continued up to his death in 1994. To many, however, he is best remembered as an ardent peace activist and a crusader for human rights, which brought him his second Nobel. Throughout his career, he was called a genius, a visionary, a Communist, and even a crank. Nothing about Pauling was simple or obvious. For a biographer, writing the life story of so enigmatic a figure is a great challenge and requires an almost epic effort. Neither of these two new biographies is strictly authorized, although Pauling cooperated to some degree in the writing of each. Hager's massive work invokes the broadest context and best portrays Pauling as a man of insight and conscience and a major player in science, politics, and society throughout some extraordinary times. A journalist, Hager made extensive use of Pauling's official archives in the library at Oregon State University and also drew upon reams of other primary sources, including formerly classified materials from the FBI and State Department. Hager does a superior job of fleshing out the details of Pauling's influences and motivations. He also interprets freely, especially in sections describing Pauling's political convictions, and, while some historians might quibble with certain interpretations, Hager backs them up with reference to primary literature. By contrast, the Goertzels' rendering is more factual and straightforward, and it is probably less vulnerable to being criticized for subjectivity. Like Hager, however, the authors (Ted, the father, is a sociology professor; Ben is a lecturer in cognitive science) can be both laudatory and critical of Pauling. Their book's greatest virtue is the lucid and methodological way it expounds Pauling's science, compared with Hager's somewhat discursive technical passages. The Goertzels' work might be the better choice for pedagogical purposes, but, overall, Hager's is better for the majority of general and informed lay readers. Either book is better than Anthony Serafini's Linus Pauling: A Man and his Science (LJ 3/15/89. o.p.). Of the third of these new releases, Linus Pauling in His Own Words, Pauling wrote, "This book will take me as close to writing my memoirs or autobiography as I shall ever get." The editor was a lifelong associate of Pauling and an employee at his Institute for Science and Medicine; her selections, arranged in four chronological sections, are both forceful and enlightening and full of resonant quotes, and her transitional text makes for smooth reading. The tone is openly deferential to Pauling (the book is dedicated to him); accordingly, it might appeal to fans and admirers, but its academic usefulness is minimal. Being released in tandem with Hager's book, however, it might ride on the latter's coattails.Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684807492
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
10/03/1995
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.51(h) x 1.01(d)

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