Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Discovery of Clay Minerals, by Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling (February 28, 1901 - August 19, 1994) would forever be remembered in soil history for his discovery of the structure of clay minerals. Pauling was a winner of two Nobel Prices. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954 for his work on the nature of chemical bond. He also received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his efforts to ban atomic bomb tests. Linus Pauling was the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes (as at the time of writing). The great soil chemist, arguably the greatest of our generation, Garrison Sposito, considered Linus Pauling as the greatest physical chemist of the past century (Sposito, 2008). Pauling was only 28 when he formulated his rule for stable crystal structures (Sposito, 2008). In his attempt to stop the atomic bomb test in 1958, Pauling presented to the Secretary General of the United Nations a petition signed by over 9000 scientist from 44 countries. Pauling also established the foundation of clay science by his discovery of phyllosilicate structures in 1929-30. An account by Linus Pauling himself on the discovery of the structure of clay minerals is available here