National Academy of Sciences
- About The NAS
- Activities & Programs
- News & Social Media
Election Year: 1933
Scientific Discipline: Chemistry
Membership Type: Member
Linus Pauling was one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. He was a chemist, peace activist, and a founder of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. Much of his work involved the application of quantum mechanical theory to electron structure and its influence on molecular bonding. He wrote the book The Nature of the Chemical Bond, in which he proposed that atoms bonded through a transfer of energy as opposed to the accepted “hook-and-eye” model. He also established the concept of electronegativity and a scale of measurement based on bond strength and dipole moments.
Later in life he became an avid peace activist, serving on committees and protesting for nuclear disarmament and peaceful international negotiation. Pauling is one of very few people to win two Nobel Prizes in different fields. In 1954 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Pauling "for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances." Pauling was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 for his tireless activism.