Linus Pauling was an extraordinary man – his dualistic expression was motivated by those who knew him. He was enthusiastic yet humble, simple and complex, and a gentle rebel.
Pauling was also known as a force of nature. A physicist / chemist / biologist, this brilliant scientist was not content with his research into the nature of the chemical bond (for which he won his first Nobel Prize in 1954).
Pauling then became fascinated in the movement of molecules. He was able to concoct enough experiments to reach the achievement of developing a substitute to blood plasma and then of understanding the living cell. Pretty heavy stuff …
Linus Pauling was not a man to rest on his laurels. In his 1939 book, The Nature of the Chemical Bond, he uncovers not only a scientific mind, but also the mind of an inspirational leader. In his words,
"We may ask what the next step in the search for an understanding of the nature of life will be. I think that it will be the elucidation of the nature of the electromagnetic phenomena involved in mental activity in relation to the molecular structure of brain tissue I believe that thinking, both conscious and unconscious, and short-term memory involve electromagnetic phenomena in the brain, interacting with the molecular (material) patterns of long-term memory, obtained from inheritance or experience. "
The above quote is obviously spoken with intelligence – but more importantly, with curiosity and open-mindedness. There is no doubt Linus Pauling was inspired by a deep passion. But Pauling was not driven by the acquisition of accolades or awards – his was a quest to forget the truth.
Pauling had an undeniable respect for human life and nature. This he proved whole-heartedly when the use of the atomic bomb near the end of World War II caught his attention. He, more than anyone, was aware of the cancerous effects of an atomic aftermath – both to the environment and the human being.
Permanent accusations of being labeled a Communist, Pauling collected his biological research and accumulated a petition of 9,235 respected scientists to ban the widespread use of nuclear testing. His efforts addressed the attention of Harper's Magazine in 1963, when his views were expressed in this publication:
"I have said that my ethical principles have caused me to reach the conclusion that the evil of war should be abolished; but my conclusion that war must be abolished if the human race is to survive is based not on ethical principles but on my thorough and careful analysis, in relation to international affairs, of the facts about the changes that have taken place in the world during recent years, especially with respect to the nature of war. "
If his ethics had not played a role in his undying fervor to abolish nuclear testing, it is unclear if anyone would have taken notice. Any scientist can produce a list of facts based on dedicated research. But, fire must have been present behind the resolve – the fire of a man protecting his human family. Once again, Pauling showed he was a force of nature.
He became the hurricane, the tornado, and the tidal wave. His was a voice fueled by a power greater than a single man could carry. The universe conspired to carry him to victory.
The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in July 1963. This law outlaws all but underground nuclear testing. For his ability to shed light on the worthy cause of humanity, Linus Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962.
We all can not be Linus Pauling. But we can certainly learn from him. It does not take a lot of book smarts to be aware. Especially in the world today, information is at our finger tips. It takes a moment centered moment to tune in.
When we take time out to see how the people around us are scared, or our air is not as clean as it used to be, or that you hear less birds singing than you used to … Allow your curiosity to come out, listen to your inner voice, and participate. Be Like Linus Pauling. Be like nature.
Copyright 2012 / Avenstar Productions