ACS President: Linus Pauling (1901-1994)

Served as President: 1949

Only one of four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize and only person to win two unshared prizes

Active promoter of the health benefits of mega doses of Vitamin C


  • Ph.D., 1925, California Institute of Technology, Physical Chemistry

Career Highlights:

  • Professor, chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 1927-1963
  • Research Professor, physical and biological sciences, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, San Diego, CA, 1964-67
  • Professor, chemistry, University of San Diego, 1968-1969
  • Professor, chemistry, Stanford University, 1969-1972
  • Co-founder, Institute of Orthomolecular Medicine, renamed the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, 1973-1991

Notable Accomplishments:

Author of The Nature of the Chemical Bond. Recognized as the father of molecular biology. Discovered sickle cell anemia was a molecular disease, opening the way toward examining genetically acquired mutations at a molecular level. Created synthetic antibodies formed by altering molecules of globulin in the blood thus developing a substitute for plasma. Constructed the first satisfactory model of a protein molecule, a discovery which had implications for the understanding of the living cell. Introduced the concept of electronegativity; established a scale with associated numerical values for most of the elements. Coined the phrase “orthomolecular” to refer to the practice of varying the concentration of substances normally present in the body to prevent and treat disease. Proposed that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was a triple helix.

Major Awards and Honors:

  • ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, 1931, first recipient
  • Nichols Medal, New York Section, ACS, 1941
  • Willard Gibbs Medal, ACS Chicago Section, 1946
  • Davy Medal, Royal Society of London, 1947
  • Presidential Medal for Merit, United States, 1948
  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1954
  • Nobel Peace Prize, 1962
  • National Medal of Science, United States, 1974
  • Priestley Medal, ACS, 1984
  • US Postal Service released a 41 cent stamp honoring Pauling for his sickle cell disease work, 2008

Service to Science:

  • Pauling and six other scientists form the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, 1946. (A committee organized by Albert Einstein to bring to the notice of all people the great change that has taken place in the world after the discovery of nuclear weapons.)
  • Co-founder of the International League of Humanists, 1974
  • President, scientific advisory board of the World Union for Protection of Life

Did You Know

. . . that he was invited to work on the Manhattan Project but declined, not wanting to uproot his family?

. . . that he became a vigorous peace activist?

. . . that he had his passport revoked in 1952 and then reinstated in 1954 in time to go to Sweden to be presented the Nobel Prize in chemistry?

Former ACS President Linus Pauling