Rosalind Franklin Essay Competition 2009

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An entire chapter of her DNA book will be devoted to Pauling’s failed structure – we’ll be very excited to read it!

My initial reaction to OSU-SCARC’s (Oregon State University, Special Collections and Archive Research Center) Paulingblog’s entry of 11-21-12, reporting on my lecture “‘Pauling’s Boys’ and the Mystery of DNA Sructure” was “Wow, they did a better job than I might have done on my own!

He also underestimated the research being conducted by certain of his peers, including Erwin Chargaff, J. By the time Pauling did get serious about the DNA structure, he was too far behind the competition, using poor quality data and rushing a structure to print.

Indeed, in the end, Pauling’s attitude toward DNA could be summed up as “too little too late,” a situation further reinforced by the political problems – culminating in the revoking of his passport – that he faced throughout 1952.

By displaying photomontages of Pauling and his associates, I was better able to convey his enigmatic predicament, as a leading molecular structurist who missed the solution of DNA structure, even though he was surrounded by many gifted and loyal associates, or “boys” in his era’s jargon.

Along these lines, a slide of attendees at the Pasadena international conference on “Protein and Nucleic Acid Structure” which Pauling organized in September 1953, captured by photo 2 above, (click for enlargement) distinguished between “boys” from rival groups by color circles around their heads.

The Paulingblog’s Photo 2 conveys the civilized environment of OSU Libraries’ Willamette Lecture Room.

For the sake of completeness, I wish to remind future applicants that the environment outside OSU’s library can also become a much cherished memory, especially the wild rapids of the Mc Kenzie River which we survived during the Labor Day weekend preceding my 9-5-12 talk.

” Indeed, OSU-SCARC’s Program for Resident Scholars is a scholar’s paradise: a spacious reading room flooded by sunlight provides a superb “room with a view” of gorgeous Oregon trees.

State of the art equipment scans archival documents straight into your flash drive.


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