The atmosphere at Caltech changed during World War II. Fewer young men attended Caltech during the war years and many members
of Caltech's staff focused their attention on projects that aided the war effort. Some chose to leave Caltech, however Pauling
remained in Pasadena while conducting many research projects for the United States government. He aided the war effort by
continuing to work on immunology and by branching out into new areas that built upon his previous endeavors. Two of his projects
Pauling tried to find a serum that could substitute for blood and be used for blood transfusions. Working for the Office of
Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), Pauling and Campbell, one of his collaborators on immunological research, developed
a successful serum substitute called oxypolygelatin. Oxypolygelatin was not used, however, because by 1943 there were enough
blood donors to make using the serum unnecessary. Even though the government lost interest in oxypolygelatin, Pauling did
not. During the 1940s, he, Campbell, and others continued to work on the blood substitute and improved the gelatin. In December
1946 Pauling, Campbell, and another colleague submitted a patent application for Oxypolygelatin.
Pauling also developed a spectrophotometric device that determined the amount of carbon monoxide in the air based upon the
concentration of carbon monoxide in a sample of blood. He made this instrument for airplanes and tanks on the request of the
National Defense Research Committee. Spectrophotometry, the technique used for the apparatus, yields concentration information
through absorption spectra. In the end Pauling found that the device was unsuitable for use because of its bulk, sensitivity
and the instability of the reagent, oxyhemoglobin.
The United States government acknowledged Pauling for his scientific work that aided the war. The most prestigious award he
received was the Medal for Merit from President Harry S. Truman, who called Pauling's work "brilliant."