Linus Carl Pauling proposed that deoxyribonucleic acid was a triple helix

Linus Carl Pauling – founder of quantum chemistry & molecular biology

Article on Linus Carl Pauling

Biography & Contributions

Linus Carl Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist born on February 28, 1901 – died on August 19, 1994. Pauling won two unshared Nobel Prizes and was notable for the diversity of his interests like quantum mechanics, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, protein structure, molecular biology, and medicine.

Pauling was the winner of many notable awards and medals like Irving Langmuir Award in the year of 1931, Nichols Medal in the year of 1941, Davy Medal in the year of 1947, Pasteur Medal in the year of 1952, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the year of 1954, Addis Medal and Phillips Memorial Award in the year of 1955, Avogadro Medal in the year of 1956, Paul Sabatier Medal, Pierre Fermat Medal and International Grotius Medal in the year of 1957, Nobel Peace Prize in the year of 1962, Lenin Peace Prize in the year of 1968, NAS Award in Chemical Sciences in the year of 1979, Priestley Medal in the year of 1984.

He was promoted orthomolecular medicine, megavitamin therapy, dietary supplements, and taking large doses of vitamin C. Pauling became one of the first scientists in the field of quantum chemistry and a pioneer in the application of quantum theory to the structure of molecules.

He became interested in how quantum mechanics might be applied in his chosen field of interest, the electronic structure of atoms and molecules. Pauling was also exposed to one of the first quantum mechanical analyses of bonding in the hydrogen molecule.

Pauling introduced the concept of Pauling Electro negativity Scale by u sing the various properties of molecules, such as the energy required to break bonds and the dipole moments of molecules. Pauling's work on the nature of the chemical bond led to his introduction of the concept of orbital hybridization.

He explored relationship between ionic bonding, where electrons are transferred between atoms, and covalent bonding, where electrons are shared between atoms on an equal basis. Pauling showed that these were merely extremes, between which most actual cases of bonding fall.

Pauling had formulated a model for the structure of hemoglobin in which atoms were arranged in a helical pattern. In 1951, based on the structures of amino acids and peptides and the planar nature of the peptide bond, Pauling, Robert Corey and Herman Branson correctly proposed the alpha helix and beta sheet as the primary structural motifs in protein secondary structure.

Pauling also proposed that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was a triple helix. Pauling also studied enzyme reactions and was among the first to point out that enzymes bring about reactions by stabilizing the transition state of the reaction. He was also among the first scientists to postulate that the binding of antibodies to antigens would be due to a complementarity between their structures.

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