Why Did Linus Pauling Win the Nobel Prize?
Pauling’s career was full of accomplishments and achievements, but his most famous work was the series of papers he published with Robert Corey (1897-1971) in 1951 on the structure of proteins. This included the structure of the most important chain – the alpha helix chain. Pauling claims to have worked out the structure whilst nursing a bad cold. Bored of the science fiction and detective stories he was reading whilst holed up in bed, Pauling turned his powerful intellect to the structure of proteins, to try and find out how polypeptide chains are folded. He took a piece of paper and drew representations of polypeptide chains on it, and then he started to fold the paper along several parallel lines. Finally he found a way of folding such that when you looked at the drawings there was a hydrogen bond formed which held the helical structure together. Working out the structure of proteins was a pivotal moment in the history of biological sciences. It was the key to understanding biology