Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Linus Pauling in the News

Sunday Oregonian, Nov 18, 2007
The house I frequent in connection with Wanderers, a group started up by Terry's ISEPP as a kind of informal think tank (we have a coffee fund and that's about it), was Linus Pauling's boyhood home.

He got started on chemistry in the basement I believe (I imagine a kind of wax museum diorama, with tourists traipsing down to see the boy wonder in frozen action -- or how about some audioanimatronics?).

A lot of us think Oregon does too little to celebrate its native sons and daughters. Kenneth Snelson, originally form Pendleton, is another local boy who made the big time as the tensegrity sculptor, plus he has other claims to fame (including some thoughts about chemistry).

The above article might explain why Pauling isn't more celebrated. He dared to question authority, and that's a no-no the way many people think (authoritarians especially). But then, that's another hallmark of our state. We question a lot. It's that pioneering, trailblazing spirit.

Questioning authority also means questioning your own beliefs and models of reality. If you don't do that sufficiently, in a somewhat unforgiving natural environment (Planet Earth for example), you may pay a high price (and as a species, we pay dearly and daily for what we choose to believe).