Linus Pauling’s 112th birthday honored at OSU, state capitol

Pauling family

Studio portrait of Ava Helen Pauling, Linus Pauling, Jr. and Linus Pauling. 1930

One of Oregon State University’s most celebrated alums would have turned 112 this week, and his birthday is being celebrated both on campus, and in the halls of state government. Linus Pauling was born Feb. 28, 1901, and went on to become a world-renowned chemist and peace activist, and the winner of two Nobel prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

OSU was not only Pauling’s alma mater, but a scene of deep significance to him as he met his wife and partner in activism, Ava Helen Pauling, while teaching at the university.

OSU is home to the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, housed in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center, which is the greatest repository of Paulings’ papers in existence, and also includes his two Nobel prizes. He is also honored as the namesake of the Linus Pauling Institute, and the new building housing the institute.

Pauling was made famous by his application of quantum mechanics to the scientific understanding of molecular architecture, which revolutionized structural chemistry. He also conducted research into the nature of sickle cell anemia and hemoglobin, and later in life he became fascinated with the powers of vitamin C, among other micronutrients.

Additionally, Pauling and Ava Helen spoke out against Cold War militarism and the growing presence of nuclear weapons. They traveled the world spreading a message of peace, which ultimately lead to his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

On Feb. 28, a proclamation making the day Linus Pauling Day will be read on the floors of the Oregon House and Senate at 11 a.m. This can be seen live at

At OSU on Feb. 28, a tour of Pauling artifacts and memorabilia will be held in the OSU Library Special Collections, on the fifth floor of Valley Library, at 11 a.m. A lunch, with proceeds benefiting the OSU Food Drive, will be held at noon in the Linus Pauling Science Center, and a tour of the new building will begin at 12:30 p.m., in the lobby.

~ Theresa Hogue


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