Today is the two year anniversary of Linus Pauling Day which was officially celebrated February 28, 2006. While the State of Oregon only recognizes the single day, we at Oregon State celebrate our most famous alumnus every year at this time.
Linus Pauling is the only individual to win two unshared Nobel Prizes; the first in 1954 (Chemistry) for his groundbreaking work with the chemical bond. The second in 1962 (Peace) was due to his activism in stopping above ground nuclear weapons testing.
Dr. Pauling’s connection to OSU, even after leaving campus, remained strong. After all, it was his alma mater. He was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity, a Professor of Chemistry as an undergraduate and met the love of his life, Ava Helen, here.
When Pauling had to decide where he and Ava’s papers would reside after his death he chose OSU over the Smithsonian and several other reputable museums. If you ever have a chance to go see the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, do it! Everything from Ava & Linus’ lives is there…Including Dr. Pauling’s actual Nobel Prizes. Holding the Nobel Prizes, one in each hand, is a powerful and almost surreal experience.
The legacy of Linus Pauling’s work is continued at the Linus Pauling Institute which has just recently been awarded a six million dollar grant from The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The LPI also recently unveiled plans for a state of the art research facility on campus.
Recently, plans were unveiled by the Postal Service to feature Linus Pauling on a postage stamp:
Dr. Pauling is one of only three or four Oregonians to be featured alone on a stamp. The stamp features blood molecules in the background signifying Pauling’s groundbreaking work in linking Sickle Cell Anemia to a genetic disorder.
In case it wasn’t evident, we are very proud that Linus Pauling is an Oregon Stater! We hope you will join us in celebrating his legacy today. Don’t hesitate to add to the discussion with comments or questions!