Linus Pauling's quest for the structure of proteins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Linus Pauling, arguably the greatest chemist of the twentieth century, never publicly admitted that there was a race for the determination of the structure of the most important biopolymers. But according to his competitors there was a race, in fact, there were two, and Pauling won one and lost the other. He had a tremendous amount of ideas, many of them worthless, but a few were spectacular. Not only did he make seminal discoveries, he was also a master of announcing them in a most dramatic way. Eventually, Pauling shifted toward politics and controversial issues, but his science ensured him his place among the greats. Here, we follow Pauling's route to the discovery of the alpha-helix; the defeat of the star-studded British team in the same quest; and a seemingly unrelated story about the fate of the theory of resonance that assured Pauling's victory yet at the same time it was excommunicated in the Soviet Union.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalStructural Chemistry
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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Biopolymers
Stars
politics
proteins
U.S.S.R.
biopolymers
helices
Proteins
routes
stars

Keywords

  • Alpha-helix
  • Linus Pauling
  • Peptide bond
  • Structure of proteins
  • Theory of resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Linus Pauling's quest for the structure of proteins. / Hargittai, I.

In: Structural Chemistry, Vol. 21, No. 1, 02.2010, p. 1-7.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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