| A British journal
included only Linus and Einstein from the 20th Century in their
list of the greatest scientists in the history of the world. As
you will see, Linus made major discoveries about proteins.
scientists are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. But not
Linus Pauling, who has been ranked among the greatest scientists
of all time.
From age 4 to 9, Linus lived
in a small Oregon town, which was like an outpost in
the Old West. The town had one street, lined by stores with
false fronts on many of the buildings, like you see on cowboy
movie sets today. Cowboys lounged in front of the general store
and Indians camped on the edge of town. His father, Herman,
was a self-taught pharmacist and "medicine man". He
ran a drug store in town. Maybe that is why Linus developed a lifelong interest in chemistry. The family was very poor.
In fact they had to move to town in order to get help from his mother's family. But Linus was happy. For him,
life was cowboys and Indians.
happy childhood came to an end at age 9 when his father died.
struggled alone to raise Linus and his two younger sisters.
Linus found comfort in reading and collecting insects and minerals.
By age 9, he had already read the entire
Bible and Darwin's book, "Origin of the Species."
His father had made certain that Linus read important books.
However, in those days good books were hard to find in a
interest in chemistry apparently came
from his childhood experiences
chemistry set that a playmate had. They
spent many hours tinkering with it. They
also spent many happy hours collecting rocks and minerals in
a creek bed near town. Linus wondered about the rocks' and minerals'
internal structures, the part that could not be seen by the
eye. Many years later, he answered some of those questions in
a research lab.