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|"Linus Pauling, Crusading Scientist." 1977.
Produced for NOVA by Robert Richter/WGBH-Boston.
New Theories in Structural Chemistry. (2:43)
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Linus Pauling: Well, I began with instruction from Dr. Dickinson, Roscoe Dickinson, to make use of the technique of the x-ray diffraction
of crystals to determine the structure of crystals. And in the course of some years and later on, of course, with the help
of my students I think I may have determined the structures of a couple of hundred different crystalline substances. And by
the electron diffraction technique, two or three hundred gas molecules, important molecules that could be put into the gas
phase by heating a liquid or solid. In determining structures we found out how far apart the atoms are and what the angles
are between the bonds. This was important information. And we could see how one atom could interact with another one, perhaps
on the other side of the molecule.
For example the acetylcholine which affects the brain, which is involved in synaptic interactions, has two active groups --
one at one end and the other at the other end of the molecule. We know how far apart they are and know that it is necessary
that these active reagents lie at that distance in order to interact with the protein molecules in the brain where they exert
their effect. So in inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry this detailed, precise knowledge of the exact structures of
molecules began to become more and more significant. I found that the old structure theory of the organic chemists had flaws
in it. There were some aspects of chemistry that just hadn't been explained, understood. And by use of the new information
about the structure of the molecules and the theory of quantum mechanics, which explained, which permitted one to make calculations
as to what the electrons are doing in the molecules, I found, and other people working in the same field of course contributed,
found also that it was possible to build up a very powerful theory of chemical structure that comes into almost all the activities
of scientists nowadays.
ClipCreator: Linus Pauling
Associated: Roscoe Dickinson
Clip ID: 1977v.66-bondb
Full WorkCreator: Robert Richter, WGBH-Boston
Associated: Linus Pauling, Ava Helen Pauling, David Shoemaker, E. Bright Wilson, Jr., Frank Catchpool
Copyright: More Information