|Politics and Society
In the decade from 1955 to 1965 Pauling addressed social and political issues when spreading scientific information. Pauling
said that he first started making politically charged comments because of something his wife, Ava Helen, said to him in the mid to late 1940s. She had told him to either take a political stand when discussing the science involved
in making an atomic bomb or altogether stop lecturing on peace.
Ava Helen's comments influenced Pauling greatly not only when he spoke about the need for peace, but also when he discussed
molecular diseases. Accordingly, during his speeches and in his articles, he tied molecular diseases to genetic counseling,
eugenics, mutagenic effects of fallout, and evolution. Although the various topics of this period have been discussed independently,
it should be noted that Pauling typically addressed these assorted issues in unison.
Click images to enlarge
Portrait of Ava Helen Pauling and Linus Pauling. 1960.
Letter from Mary Clarke to Ava Helen Pauling. November 13, 1960.
"I think that it is the duty of scientists to help their fellow citizens to understand the problems, and to give them the
benefit of their own knowledge about the scientific aspects of the problems. In addition, however, to this work of helping
to educate their fellow citizens, scientists have, I think, the obligation to express their own opinions, in order to help
their fellow citizens."
May 26, 1976