CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will commemorate the 99th birthday of its most famous alumnus, the late Linus Pauling, by unveiling a plaque where he met his future wife, Ava Helen Miller, in 1922.
A ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 28, in Education Hall Room 201. It is free and open to the public.
By gubernatorial proclamation, Oregon celebrates Pauling's birthday every Feb. 28. The OSU graduate is the only individual to have received t
wo unshared Nobel Prizes - the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954, and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. Ava Helen Pauling was the greatest influence in the life of Linus Pauling, he often said. She urged him to assume a more prominent role in a burgeoning movement to protest nuclear testing, leading to a petition signed by more than 13,000 prominent scientists from around the world.
The Valley Library's Special Collections houses the papers, medals and memorabilia of both Paulings - more than 500,000 items in a collection.
Pauling met his future wife on Jan. 6, 1922, when, as a 20-year-old sophomore, he was asked to teach chemistry to 25 home economics majors - all of them women. To hide his nerves, he pulled out the grade book and arbitrarily chose a student to review the previous semester's work. That student was Ava Helen Miller.
They were married 18 months later - a union that lasted until her death in 1981. Linus Pauling died in 1994.