Internationally Known Speakers Highlight Pauling Conference


CORVALLIS, Ore. – A Nobel laureate, a science documentary filmmaker and an internationally recognized climate research scientist are among the speakers at an Oregon State University conference on Oct. 29-30, celebrating OSU alumnus and two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling.

The theme of the conference is “The Scientist as Educator and Public Citizen: Linus Pauling and His Era.” The event, at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center, is free and open to the public.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the publication of Pauling’s landmark book, “General Chemistry,” as well as the 50th anniversary of Pauling’s first public appeal for a ban on nuclear weapon testing.

Pauling revolutionized the way chemistry was taught in university classrooms when he published his 1947 college textbook, “General Chemistry.” It soon became the standard introductory chemistry text used in universities all over the world, and secured his place as a major scientific figure of the 20th century.

Ten years later, Pauling – with the encouragement of his wife, Ava Helen Pauling – started channeling his efforts into a role as an activist. He rallied the support of his colleagues and became one of the most outspoken opponents of nuclear weapons testing.

Among the speakers at the conference:

• Dudley Herschbach, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize for chemistry, will speak on “Linus Pauling as an Evangelical Chemist.” Herschbach, the Baird Professor of Science at Harvard University, is a fellow in several prestigious science organizations and recipient of many career honors and awards.

• Warren Washington, an alumnus of OSU, is a senior scientist and head of the Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He will speak on “The Evolution of Global Warming Science: From Ideas to Scientific Facts.”

• Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, a professor of history and the philosophy of science at the University of Paris X, will speak on “Exploring the Values of Chemistry through Pauling's Textbook.” She studies the history and philosophy of chemistry and chemical technologies, science and the public, and her work has earned many awards and honors.

Other speakers include MIT professor David Kaiser, science documentary writer and producer Steve Lyons, award-winning science educator Bassam Shakhashiri, former British Museum director Robert Anderson, and OSU scientists Jane Lubchenco and Kenneth Krane.

The conference is sponsored by OSU’s Horning Endowment in the Humanities, the OSU History Department, and the OSU Special Collections.