OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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"Pauling's Boys" and the DNA Structure Mystery - Resident Scholar lecture

Special Collections & University Archives Research Center announces the first Resident Scholar lecture of the 2012-13 academic year, which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5th at 2:00 in the Willamette Room (3rd floor of the Library).  We are proud to welcome our Resident Scholar, Dr. Pnina Abir-Am of Brandeis University.  

 Title: "Pauling's Boys" and the DNA Structure Mystery

Abstract: The talk inquires into the possible role of Pauling's close associates, widely known as 'Pauling's Boys', in Pauling's brief and puzzling engagement with DNA structure, 1951-1953. Based on archives opened since the 50th anniversary of this discovery, as well as recent SCARC acquisitions, most notably the Jack D. Dunitz Papers, the talk sheds new light on this still incomprehensible episode in the history of science. The talk is based on a chapter in a forthcoming book, DNA at 50: Memory, History, and Politics, which benefitted from NSF, NIH, and OSU Libraries sponsorship.

On the speaker:  Pnina G. Abir-Am has been a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center since 2007. Prior to that she held research and teaching positions at Johns Hopkins, UC-Berkeley, the University of Ottawa, and CNRS-Paris. She holds a Ph.D. from the French University of Montreal and an M.Sc. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, both in the history of science.

 Pnina has published widely on the history of molecular biology, public memory, women in science, and science policy.  For example, she was the first to establish the impact of the Rockefeller Foundation on the rise of molecular biology with several case studies from the 1930s, including Pauling's. (Social Studies of Science, 1982 & 1984)  More recently, she has become interested in dramatizing the history of science and is currently looking for collaborators on a play focusing on Pauling's involvement with protein and DNA structures, among other preoccupations, in the 1930s and 1950s.