Linus Pauling’s scientific reputation reached its peak in the early 1950s. His theories on chemical bonds and molecular structure were
widely applauded. His many scientific articles were read with close attention. His textbooks were among the most successful
in the marketplace. Years of innovative research on protein structure had yielded, in 1951, a string of unprecedented breakthroughs
outlining the molecular architecture of many basic structures. He was widely considered America’s -- perhaps the world’s --
Then suddenly, and seemingly inexplicably, Pauling turned away from science. He began to focus his considerable talents instead
on political activism. His brand of politics -- a mix of socialism, pacifism, liberalism, human rights promotion, and support
for world government -- was decidly out of step with mainstream sentiment in America during what became known as the McCarthy
Era, a time of anti-Communism, loyalty oaths, and public fear leveraged by politicians.
The more Pauling was attacked for his unpopular views, however, the more stubborn and outspoken he became. Despite enormous
pressure from the government, newspapers, and the school for which he worked, he refused to back down. His was a brand of
courage rarely seen today. This website tells the story of that political activism, why Pauling threw himself into waters
unfamiliar to (and avoided by) most scientists, and what he accomplished.