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Pauling, Linus Carl (28 February 1901–19 August 1994), biochemist, physical chemist, and political activist, was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Herman Henry William Pauling, a druggist, and Lucy Isabelle Darling. Fascination with his father’s pharmacy sparked an early interest in chemistry, although Pauling himself attributed his decision to enter a career in science to observing a boyhood friend’s experiments with a chemistry set and to his fascination with scientists portrayed in novels. His father’s early death forced the family to survive by running a boarding house. From about age thirteen Pauling took various jobs, from delivery boy to movie projectionist, to help his family, while conducting chemistry experiments in a makeshift basement laboratory at home. He entered Oregon State Agricultural College (later Oregon State University) at age sixteen, without completing high school, to major in chemical engineering. There he met his future wife, Ava Helen Miller, while he was teaching undergraduate chemistry though still a student. In 1922 he graduated summa cum laude and then entered graduate school at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Pauling and Miller married in 1923; they had four children....

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Rabinowitch, Eugene (26 August 1901–15 May 1973), chemist and scientific activist and popularizer, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia; information about his parents is not available. He was a student at the University of St. Petersburg, specializing in chemistry. In 1926 he completed a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Berlin. During this period of his life, he married Anya (surname not known); they had two sons. In 1933 the family left Germany for Copenhagen, where Rabinowitch worked with Niels Bohr at the Institute of Theoretical Physics. He later studied at University College, London. He brought his family to the United States in 1938 so that he could take part in a solar energy research project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1942 Rabinowitch joined the Metallurgical Project of the Manhattan Engineer District at the University of Chicago, known as the “Met Lab,” where he was a senior chemist and a section chief on the Manhattan Project. The main task of the Met Lab was to develop procedures for the large-scale production of plutonium. Work on “weapons theory”—that is, on theoretical aspects of bomb construction—was transferred to Los Alamos in early 1943; thus Met Lab scientists played a relatively minor part in the final stages of the Manhattan Project (which would result in the successful production of the atomic bombs used against Japan in 1945)....