|Recruiting for Science
With the NDRC's governing body gathered and the major administrative decisions made, it was time to assemble the troops.
First, Bush assigned Frank Jewett, whose position in the National Academy of Sciences made him an influential figure, to the
task of contacting the nation's scientific institutions. Over the course of a few weeks, Jewett wrote to over 700 colleges
and universities requesting information on their scientific facilities, staff, and foci. James Conant, the president of Harvard
University, followed this blitz with another fifty letters to the country's best-outfitted corporate laboratories, outlining
the NDRC's most pressing responsibilities and calling for aid. Through this campaign, the NDRC was able to compile a near-comprehensive
record of scientific staff and facilities across the continent. This document was known as the "Report on Research Facilities
of Certain Educational and Scientific Institutions" and served as an important resource for assigning research work and funds
during the war. After each committee member had been assigned a division, Bush requested that they provide him with a list
of potential staff members. He reviewed their selections and, by early September, was sending out recruitment letters.
On September 9, 1940, Linus Pauling received a letter signed by Bush appointing him to Division B (bombs, fuels, gases, and
chemical problems) of the NDRC under James Conant's direction. Pauling had been in intermittent contact with the division's
head since 1929 when Conant, the director of the Harvard chemistry department, had attempted to lure Pauling away from Caltech.
It is unsurprising that Conant recommended Pauling for membership in the NDRC, given his obvious appreciation of Linus' work
as a researcher. Pauling, in turn, regarded Conant as a competent chemist and a superb administrator. Spurred on by patriotism
and heartened by Conant's encouragement, he accepted the position on September 23, 1940.
One week before, on September 16, 1940, President Roosevelt signed into being the Selective Training and Service Act (STSA).
Although the United States had not yet officially entered the war, Roosevelt was doing his part to prepare the nation. The
act established the Selective Service System, which allowed the conscription of private citizens into the armed forces. Males
aged eighteen to sixty-five were required to register with ages eighteen to forty-five being considered eligible for immediate
entrance into the training program. It quickly became clear to Pauling and other members of the NDRC that the war would have
a major impact on the availability of scientists and lab technicians not exempted from conscription by their connection to
the NDRC. By November 1940, Pauling was in the process of requesting exemptions for his most valued research men, including
Dr. J. Norton Wilson and J. Holmes Sturdivant, men that would help determine America's success in the war.