Thursday, 26 April 2012
Linus Pauling-Exploits of a Chemist
No chemist remains as prolific and revered as Linus Pauling. A figure of the highest stature and regard on both the chemical and pacifist frontiers. The culmination of an intellectual odyssey, coupled with an intrinsic insight into the nature of the universe. An inquisitive eye for the nature of matter, energy and the bonds that constitute to structure over substance. The preeminent symbol of profound insight and personality, an influential stance and impression upon the annals and practice of science. Pauling foresaw a reality that constituted to the nature of the universe. An undying passion to document, dissect and demystify the nature of the physical and chemical realm that surrounded him proved an invaluable asset to the score of breakthroughs that he unearthed. Pauling formulated a legacy that spanned the entirety of an intellectual career, one that is with its evident successes and distinct short-comings; but one with an overall intrinsic value. For the chemist remained foreign to the worldly affairs that encircled their world but Pauling intervened and ordained a personal correlation with the universe, transfigured the realm of the chemist. Among some of his noblest and most boastful of accomplishments was the unraveling of the secondary structure of proteins, the alpha helix and the masterful documentation expressed in The Nature of the Chemical Bond. Pauling proved to be a chemist surpassing that of the ordinary, a single intellectual bound by the undying passion for his odyssey of exploration. More profound was his championing of structure over substance as a means of understanding the mystique of the phenomena that encircled and formulated the nature of the universe. A gifted teacher who drove and propelled, by conveying the secrecy of the physical and the chemical realms. Pauling was more profound in his approach to pacifism and the advocacy of peace despite the ever malignant reality of modern warfare taking its international toll. An advocate for both the nature of the chemical bond and the pacifism that defined a humane and civilised society, the figure of inquisition and inquiry. A mind copious with the intellectual energies that enriched the spirit and allowed ideas to sprout from every possible angle. The preeminent symbol of scientific endeavor that advanced and provoked our contemporaries and challenged the dogma that constricted and proved an insurmountable hurdle. A paradigm at the pinnacle of an odyssey to master and conquer the realities, from every approachable angle. The exploits of a chemist that transfigured the chemistry of the biological and the physical. Exploits that proved invaluable to the provoking of an intellectual golden age. A rebirth of the frontiers seems the ideal term to capture the crux of Pauling's legacy, one shrouded with eloquence and potential both intellectually and personally. Apart from his intellectual glamour was a movement that advocated the consumption of copious vitamin doses, triggering unflattering responses from those of the medical establishment. But considering his exploits holistically reveals a tapestry immersed in the essences of knowledge and knowing. The culmination of chemist and chemical bond, the unsurpassed odyssey of a revered and a preeminent figure, bound by an undying passion to master, document and demystify.