CORVALLIS - A world-renowned scientist, who once was a student of Linus Pauling, will honor his former mentor on May 4 when he will deliver the annual Linus and Ava Helen Pauling Peace Lecture at Oregon State University.
Matthew Meselson, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University, will speak on "Averting the Hostile Exploitation of Biology." His talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus. The center is located at 26th Street and Western Boulevard.
Pauling is the only individual to win two unshared Nobel Prizes. The 1922 Oregon State graduate received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954, and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963. Pauling, who left his papers, medals and memorabilia to OSU, died in 1994.
Meselson studied under Pauling as an undergraduate and graduate student at California Institute of Technology, before going onto a long, successful career of his own. He is internationally known for his work in molecular biology and, like Pauling, also is known for his stand against weapons of war.
His most noted scientific achievement came in 1957, when he and colleague Frank Stahl formulated an experiment that proved the method by which DNA replicates itself. Known as the Meselson-Stahl experiment, it was dubbed "the most beautiful experiment in biology" and was the subject of a best-selling book by Frederic Lawrence Holmes.
Meselson has long crusaded against the dangers of chemical and biological weapons. In 1979, he investigated the largest known outbreak of inhalation anthrax, which occurred in the Soviet Union. He also has consulted frequently to governmental and nongovernmental agencies, and conducted studies on the effects of biological warfare in southeast Asia.
He is co-director of the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons Armament and Arms Limitation.
Meselson has received medals from the National Academy of Sciences and the Genetics Society of America, and holds numerous honorary degrees.
On Wednesday, May 5, he will be honored with the Linus Pauling Legacy Award, which will be presented to him by OSU Libraries, according to Chris Petersen, a research assistant with Special Collections. Previous winners were Daisaku Ikeda, the founder of Soka Gakkai International, 2002; and Sir Joseph Rotblat, Nobel laureate physicist, 2003.