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Linus Pauling

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Linus Pauling in 1954.
Unfortunately not nearly as stylish as his father, Herman Heinrich Pauling.

Linus Pauling (February 28, 1901-August 19, 1994) was one of the first scientists to work in the fields of molecular biology and quantum mechanics and is considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. He had already won awards for his work in quantum theory before he had even turned thirty. His work defining sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease opened up many new paths of research. In the '50s, he argued that DNA had a triple helix structure as opposed to Watson and Crick's double helix model, but then revised his position after he got access to Watson and Crick's higher quality x-ray diffraction photos. He won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his seminal work on chemical bonds, which is summarized in his book The Nature of the Chemical Bond. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-war activism.

In his later days, he sunk into Vitamin C crankery, claiming that megadoses of the vitamin could cure the common cold. This eventually led to a field of quackery known as orthomolecular medicine, which goes to show that even the most brilliant person can also be an idiot sometimes. He and Arthur Robinson set up an organization in Pauling's name to promote this quackery.

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