“The scientist, if he is to be more than a plodding gatherer of bits of information, needs to exercise an active imagination. The scientists of the past whom we now recognize as great are those who were gifted with transcendental imaginative powers, and the part played by the imaginative faculty of his daily life is as least as important for the scientist as it is for the worker in any other field—much more important than for most. A good scientist thinks logically and accurately when conditions call for logical and accurate thinking—but so does any other good worker when he has a sufficient number of well-founded facts to serve as the basis for the accurate, logical induction of generalizations and the subsequent deduction of consequences.” — Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling considered himself equal to the everyday working man (or woman).  Imagination, logical thinking and hard work are important for the scientist and the blue or white collar employees alike.  Born February 28, 1901, Linus was the only person to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes.  That’s right, he didn’t have to share the prize money for either of those Nobel’s – quite a feat.  1954 saw him win a Nobel for chemistry while again in 1962 he won another Nobel, this one was the Peace Prize.

Linus Pauling introduced the concept of electronegativity and determined the cause of sickle-cell anemia from a molecular viewpoint (it is caused by an abnormal protein).  From this work he became known as the father of molecular biology.  He accomplished an astounding amount of significant work over his lifetime including, through his ‘baby tooth study‘, determining the harmful effects of above-ground nuclear testing.  This work led to the Partial Test Ban Treaty signed by both the U.S. and Soviet Union in 1963.  Although his reputation suffered a setback with his faulty research into the effectiveness of high doses of Vitamin C for curing the common cold and cancer, his tremendous achievements in chemistry, physics and medicine can not be overlooked as a testament to his importance as a scientist.

 

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