History of Science Oral History Collection, 2009-2012

Overview of the Collection

Oregon State University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives Research Center.
History of Science Oral History Collection
2009-2012 (inclusive)
26 sound files, 2 video files  :  21 gigabytes born digital
Collection Number
OH 17
The History of Science Oral History Collection consists primarily of interviews with scientists, with special emphasis placed on individuals who knew and worked with Linus Pauling. Also included are interviews with members of the Pauling family as well as interviews with family members of other scientists.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions
Restrictions on Access

Permission to examine the History of Science Oral History Collection will be granted to qualified researchers upon completion of an "Application for Use" form, and contingent upon the researcher's agreement to abide by the rules and policies governing collection use. See the Use of Collections page for more information.

Access to Cheryl Pauling interview #1 is granted by permission of Cheryl Pauling only.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Kenneth Hedberg (b. 1920) is a graduate of Oregon State College (BS, 1943) and the California Institute of Technology (Ph D., 1948), having studied chemistry at both institutions. While at Caltech, Hedberg studied under Verner Schomaker and interacted frequently with Linus Pauling. In 1956 Hedberg returned to Oregon State College where he joined the faculty of the chemistry department. Primarily a physical chemist, Hedberg, often aided by his wife Lise, has focused his research primarily upon the use of electron diffraction to determine the structures of gas phase molecules. Having formally retired from the department in 1987, Hedberg maintains an active research program as Professor Emeritus.

Albert Kordesch (b. 1949) is the second of four children born to Karl and Erna Kordesch. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Kordesch has enjoyed a thirty-year career in the electronics industry, focusing on the manufacture of silicon semiconductors.

Erna Kordesch, born Erna Böhm in 1922, is the widow of Karl Kordesch (1922-2011). A native of Austria, Erna moved to the United States with her husband and two children in 1953, when Karl Kordesch was invited to join the U.S. Signal Corps under the auspices of Operation Paperclip. Once in the U.S., Erna gave birth to two more children. After her children were raised, Erna worked as an occupational therapist in an Ohio hospital before retiring to travel with her husband and support his scientific research.

Stephen Lawson (b. 1951) is Administrative Officer at the Linus Pauling Institute. A Stanford University graduate (BS, 1973), Lawson was hired in 1977 to serve as a research assistant at what was then known as the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, located near the Stanford campus. Over the next twenty years, Lawson came to assume increasing amounts of responsibility and was named Chief Executive Officer of LPISM in the early 1990s. In 1996 Lawson was among a small handful of LPISM employees to move with the organization to its new location on the campus of Oregon State University.

Christopher Mathews (b. 1937) is an Oregon State University Emeritus Professor of biochemistry. Educated at Reed College (BS Chemistry, 1958) and the University of Washington (Ph D. Biochemistry, 1962), Mathews served on the faculty of Yale University and the University of Arizona before accepting the chairmanship of the OSU Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1978. Respected for his research in enzymology and virology, Mathews helped to found the OSU Center for Gene Research and co-authored, with Kensal van Holde, the successful textbook Biochemistry. Mathews retired from OSU in 2002.

Cheryl Pauling (b. 1957) is the first born child of Edward Crellin Pauling and Lucy Neilan Mills Pauling. A resident of Vancouver, Washington, she is one of Linus and Ava Helen Pauling's fifteen grandchildren.

Kay Pauling, born Kay Cole in 1940, is a retired professor of biology who taught at Foothill College for eighteen years. The second wife and widow of Edward Crellin Pauling, Kay gave birth to the couple's child, David, in 1973.

Linus Pauling, Jr. (b. 1925) is the eldest of Linus and Ava Helen Pauling's four children. A graduate of Harvard Medical School (M.D., 1952) Pauling enjoyed a long career in psychiatry both in private practice and in the administration of psychiatric services at The Queen's Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii. In the early 1990s, Pauling was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. In this capacity, Pauling helped the Institute to avoid financial insolvency and participated in its relocation to the campus of Oregon State University.

Stephanie Pauling, born Stephanie Onishi in 1946, was married to Linus Pauling, Jr. for nearly thirty years. A lifelong resident of Oahu, Stephanie is the mother of one daughter, Carrie.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The History of Science Oral History Collection seeks to document the lives and work of scientists associated in some way with Oregon State University, with a particular emphasis placed on capturing the stories of those who knew and worked with Dr. Linus Pauling (1901-1994). Interviews have been conducted with scientists themselves as well as with family members and associates willing to share their memories of specific scientists both as individuals and historical figures.

Of particular note are the five-part series of interviews conducted with Kenneth Hedberg and documenting his long career at OSU and at the California Institute of Technology; the six-part series conducted with Stephen Lawson that focuses in large part on the forty-year history of the Linus Pauling Institute; and the eight interviews given by Linus Pauling Jr. in which he recounts his memories of growing up in a famous family and of living with a memorable name.

Most interviews have been recorded directly to digital audio and saved as wav files, with mp3 files created for researcher access. A handful of interviews were recorded to video and have been transferred to both digital video and audio formats.

All interviews have been transcribed or are in the process of being transcribed. Materials assembled in the process of developing interview topics and permissions forms signed by interview subjects are also held on site.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions on Use

Use of Cheryl Pauling interview #1 is granted by permission of Cheryl Pauling only.

Preferred Citation

Preferred Citation

Courtesy of the History of Science Oral History Collection (OH 17), Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Interviews are arranged chronologically by date of interview. An alphabetical view of the contents is as follows.

  • Hedberg, Kenneth
    • Five interviews: May 12, 2009; September 9, 2011; September 20, 2011; September 29, 2011; October 20, 2011
  • Kordesch, Albert
    • One interview: December 28, 2011
  • Kordesch, Erna
    • One interview: December 28, 2011
  • Lawson, Stephen
    • Six interviews: August 26, 2011; September 19, 2011; November 8, 2011; November 14, 2011; December 15, 2011
  • Mathews, Christopher
    • One interview: September 2, 2011
  • Pauling, Cheryl
    • Two interviews: March 9, 2012 (parts 1 and 2)
  • Pauling, Kay
    • One interview: March 13, 2012
  • Pauling, Linus, Jr.
    • Eight interviews: September 23, 2011; February 28, 2012; June 3, 2012; June 4, 2012; June 5, 2012; June 6, 2012; June 7, 2012; June 8, 2012
  • Pauling, Stephanie
    • One interview: June 5, 2012

Preservation Note

Born digital wav or mp3 files created in the building of this collection are available on site.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition Information

All interviews were conducted by OSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center staff, sometimes in concert with other colleagues as indicated.

Future Additions

Future Additions

Future additions to this collection are anticipated.

Processing Note

Processing Note

Arrangement and description by Chris Petersen.

Related Materials

Related Materials

Certain of the interviews held in this collection specifically refer to individuals or topics described in the Karl and Erna Kordesch Papers, the Christopher Mathews Papers and the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

1:  Interviews, 2009Return to Top

1 sound file; 1 video file
Description Dates
1.1: Hedberg, Kenneth
Hedberg discusses his time as a graduate and post-doctoral student at the California Institute of Technology, making particular mention of his interactions with notable figures working in chemistry and physics at Caltech in the 1940s and 1950s. [Interview conducted by Cliff Mead. Interview originally videotaped, later transferred to audio wav format.]
May 12, 2009

2:  Interviews, 2011Return to Top

14 sound files
Description Dates
2.1: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson discusses his background before his employment with the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine; his hiring and initial role at LPISM; his early interactions with Linus Pauling and the evolution of their relationship over time, including scientific collaborations; Pauling's personality and work style; and memories of Ava Helen Pauling. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
August 26, 2011
2.2: Mathews, Christopher
Mathews discusses his personal interests and professional pursuits as a biochemist and textbook author. Major themes discussed include Mathews' childhood; his education at Reed College and the University of Washington; his interactions with Linus Pauling and the Pauling family; the evolution of his research interests; his relationship with Seymour Cohen, an important mentor; serving on the faculty at Yale University and the University of Arizona; the decision to move to Oregon State University; administrative responsibilities at OSU; co-authoring the textbook Biochemistry with Kensal van Holde; points of pride; and his interest in the practice of medicine. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
September 2, 2011
2.3: Hedberg, Kenneth
Hedberg discusses his youth in southern Oregon and Washington, including life during the Great Depression; his early interest in science; and his beginning college years at Southern Oregon College. He then details his undergraduate experience at Oregon State College including social life, academics, mentors and undergraduate research. From there he discusses his draft deferment during World War II; war work that he conducted for Shell Development Company; and his arrival for graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
September 9, 2011
2.4: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson shares his memories of interactions with members of Linus Pauling's family; the donation of Pauling's papers to Oregon State University; the Pauling home at Deer Flat Ranch; thoughts on specific aspects of Pauling's personality; opinions on biographies written about Pauling; and Pauling's final illness, death and memorial. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
September 19, 2011
2.5: Hedberg, Kenneth
Hedberg discusses his graduate and post-doctoral research at Caltech; his Guggenheim Fellowship to Norway; life in Norway; meeting and marrying Lise Smedvik; relationships built at Caltech including interactions with Verner Schomaker and Linus Pauling; memories of other Caltech colleagues; and recollections of the Pauling household. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
September 20, 2011
2.6: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling discusses memories of his parents, with a particular focus on his mother, Ava Helen Pauling. Subjects touched upon include Ava Helen's civic engagement; the family's interest in cars; Linus Jr.'s military service; Pauling family dynamics including relationships between siblings and between children and parents; family habits and customs; the relationship shared by Linus Jr.'s parents; his parents' social lives; their attitudes toward money; Peter Pauling and his family; and Linus Pauling's resignation from Caltech in 1963. [Interview conducted by Mina Carson and Chris Petersen]
September 23, 2011
2.7: Hedberg, Kenneth
Hedberg discusses memories of Ava Helen Pauling; his acceptance of a job offer from Oregon State College; his return to Corvallis; setting up a research program at OSC; building an electron diffraction apparatus; techniques used to study molecules over the years; interesting molecules studied; teaching at OSU; Lise Hedberg's work at OSU; the evolution of computer use in the OSU Chemistry Department; and the "final folders" produced as a function of his work. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
September 29, 2011
2.8: Hedberg, Kenneth
Hedberg discusses the history of the Pauling Papers and Oregon State University; hosting the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling in Corvallis; memories of other OSU friends and colleagues; his connection to Norway and his interactions with Norwegian scientists; individuals important to the history of chemistry at OSU; memorable interactions with graduate and post-doctoral students; a unique trip to Japan; and points of pride looking back on a long life. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
October 20, 2011
2.9: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson discusses his employment interview with the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine; the LPISM facility; and the personal and professional characteristics of certain of its critical employees. Among those discussed are Arthur Robinson, Emile Zuckerkandl, Ewan Cameron and Frank Catchpool. Lawson also discusses the Mayo Clinic controversy; the funding model utilized by LPISM; the Institute's move to a new facility in 1980; and various research programs and funding initiatives undertaken by the Institute during the 1980s. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
November 8, 2011
2.10: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson discusses the response of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine to the Mayo Clinic controversy; research conducted by Ewan Cameron at LPISM; response to Linus Pauling's book How to Live Longer and Feel Better; research on vitamin C and AIDS conducted by Cameron and Raxit Jariwalla; the personal and professional characteristics of Matthias Rath; LPISM's response to a rezoning effort initiated by the city of Palo Alto; the departures of Emile Zuckerkandl and Rick Hicks from LPISM; the death of Ewan Cameron; the departure of Matthias Rath and subsequent litigation; the role assumed by Linus Pauling Jr. in administering LPISM; important financial donations to LPISM; the Institute's relationship with the Elizabeth Arden company; and the impact on LPISM of Linus Pauling's death. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
November 11, 2011
2.11: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson discusses his assumption of the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine; the Linus Pauling Heart Foundation; the process by which it was decided that LPISM would move from Palo Alto, California to the campus of Oregon State University; negotiating the move to Oregon; early allies at OSU; important hires made once at OSU; changing the Institute's name to the Linus Pauling Institute; lingering litigation; the creation of the Micronutrient Information Center; research on intravenous vitamin C; the LPI Prize for Health Research; the Linus Pauling Science Center and future endeavors for LPI. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
November 14, 2011
2.12: Lawson, Stephen
Lawson shares his memories of many individuals who either worked at or were otherwise affiliated with the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. Notable figures include Zelek Herman, Dorothy Munro, Richard Hicks, Raxit Jariwalla, Constance Tsao, Akira Murata, Fukumi Morishige, William Aberth, Wolcott Dunham, Irwin Stone, Bruce Ames, Lester Packer and Mark Levine. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
December 15, 2011
2.13: Kordesch, Erna
Kordesch shares her memories of life in Europe and the United States including her childhood interests and family background; meeting and marrying Karl Kordesch; Karl's military service; life in Vienna during World War II; the family's move to the U.S. under the auspices of Operation Paperclip; life as an immigrant in the U.S.; Karl's research interests; and travels in the U.S. and abroad. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen and Trevor Sandgathe]
December 28, 2011
2.14: Kordesch, Albert
Kordesch shares his memories of growing up as an immigrant child in New Jersey. He also discusses his father Karl's personality and work habits; stories that Karl told about his childhood; the significance of Karl's battery innovations; Karl's interest in electric cars and his hydrogen-powered car; Karl's business relationships; and the importance of Karl's "Box Zero." [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen and Trevor Sandgathe]
December 28, 2011

3:  Interviews, 2012Return to Top

11 sound files; 1 video file
Description Dates
3.1: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Deposited here is a recording of an oral history interview that was conducted before an audience of students and faculty at Linus Pauling Middle School, (Corvallis, OR) held in commemoration of the 111th anniversary of Linus Pauling's birth. The interview consisted primarily of Linus Pauling Jr.'s remarks on various photographs from his childhood that were projected onto a screen for all to view. Once the photographs had been reviewed, the audience was invited to ask their own questions. The event was moderated by Mina Carson and Chris Petersen, and was recorded for both video and audio.
February 28, 2012
3.2: Pauling, Cheryl
Pauling discusses her upbringing and her memories of interactions with her grandparents, Linus and Ava Helen Pauling. This recording is restricted - access and use are granted by permission of Cheryl Pauling only. [Interview conducted by Mina Carson and Chris Petersen]
March 9, 2012
3.3: Pauling, Cheryl
Pauling shares memories of her father, Edward Crellin Pauling. Subjects discussed include Crellin's recollections of his own childhood and his relationship with his siblings; Lucy Neilan Mills, Crellin's first wife and Cheryl's mother; Crellin's personal and professional interests; his personality and sense of humor; trips to see Linus and Ava Helen Pauling at Deer Flat Ranch; interactions with Crellin's second wife, Kay Pauling; and Crellin's final illness and death. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
March 9, 2012
3.4: Pauling, Kay
Pauling principally discusses her relationship with her second husband, Edward Crellin Pauling, and with her mother-in-law, Ava Helen Pauling. Specific topics discussed include Kay's professional background; Crellin's professional background and research interests; his memories of his childhood; Pauling family dynamics including relationships with parents and between siblings; Crellin's personality; Kay's first meeting Crellin, the blossoming of their relationship and their wedding; specific interactions with Ava Helen; interactions with the Miller family; interactions with Linus Pauling; Ava Helen and Linus Pauling as grandparents; Ava Helen's final illness and death; the Pauling family and Unitarianism; Crellin, Kay and their family's move from Riverside, California to Portola Valley, California; Linus Pauling's final illness and death; and Crellin's executorship of the Pauling estate amidst his own final illness. [Interview conducted by Mina Carson and Chris Petersen]
March 13, 2012
3.5: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling discusses his childhood including his having been left with relatives during his parents' Guggenheim trip to Europe in 1926; visits to and playing at the Caltech campus; Linus Jr.'s youthful interest in reading; his experience of grammar school and high school; childhood friends including friendships with Caltech graduate students; the neighborhoods of his youth; family pets; chores and childhood jobs; the family's interests in music; youthful impressions of his parents' relationship; memories of Pasadena; and memories of the births of Peter and Linda Pauling. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 3, 2012
3.6: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling discusses his memories of his brother Edward Crellin Pauling on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Crellin's birth. He then shares more recollections from his own early years including family camping trips to the desert; his father's nephritis diagnosis and subsequent treatment; Linus Jr.'s brief undergraduate stint at UC-Berkeley; his military experience and international travel during World War II; attending Cal Poly Pomona on the GI Bill; meeting and marrying Anita Oser; Anita's family background and the impact of her family's wealth on Linus Jr.'s circumstances; a brief meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright; Anita's relationship with Linus and Ava Helen Pauling; and Pauling family Christmas traditions. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 4, 2012
3.7: Pauling, Stephanie
Pauling discusses her life as a Japanese-American native of Hawaii and her nearly thirty years of marriage to Linus Pauling, Jr. Subjects discussed include the cultural norms specific to her experience as the child of Japanese immigrants living on Oahu; her first interactions with and marriage to Linus Pauling, Jr.; her interactions and relationship with Ava Helen Pauling, Linus Pauling and their children; visits to the Pauling homes at Deer Flat Ranch, Pasadena and Portola Valley; Linus Pauling's final illness and death; Linus Pauling, Jr.'s involvement with the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine; and her experience of living with Linus Jr. in an architecturally significant home overlooking Honolulu. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 5, 2012
3.8: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling continues sharing his life history, first recounting and commenting on his time as a medical student at Harvard University. Other subjects discussed include his choice of psychiatry as a profession; his move to Hawaii in 1952; the building of his home, designed by Vladimir Ossipoff; his relationship with Ossipoff; becoming involved in the community of Honolulu; his father's interest in orthomolecular psychiatry; the beginnings and evolution of his involvement with the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine; LPISM's move to Oregon State University; personal reflections on specific staff members at LPISM; and the family's Nobel trips to Sweden (1954) and Norway (1963). [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 5, 2012
3.8: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling shares his recollections of a number of subjects related to his life and the lives of his family members. Topics discussed include his travel; Hawaiian statehood; the dissolution of his marriage to Anita Oser; the lives of his five children; his activities following his divorce including his participation in the march on Selma; his father's peace activism; his father's interactions with the University of Hawaii and Hawaiian colleagues; meeting Stephanie Onishi and his relationship with Stephanie's daughter, Carrie; the transfer of the Pauling Papers to Oregon State University; Pauling-related events including the Pauling Legacy Award; the financial impact of General Chemistry; and the family's long interest in cars, especially Porsches. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 6, 2012
3.9: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling shares recollections mostly related to his parents including his father's work with Harvey Itano on sickle cell anemia; the "race" to discover the structure of DNA; his parents' world tour following the Nobel Chemistry Prize; allegations of his father's ethnic prejudices; the purchase and development of Deer Flat Ranch, including the construction of China Camp; the United Nations bomb test petition; his father's "cliff incident"; his father's tenures at institutions following Caltech including the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and Stanford University; his father's colleagues in health and nutrition research; Ava Helen's declining health and death; aspects of his father's life alone; and aspects of his father's personality. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 7, 2012
3.10: Pauling, Linus, Jr.
Pauling discusses his memories and interactions with a number of individuals including his siblings Peter and Linda, and their families. He also discusses his parents' childhoods and their wedding; his father's relationship with Lloyd Jeffress; his father's various offices; his father's various biographers; Pauline and Lucile Pauling; Sidney Weinbaum; A. A. Noyes; spending summers with Albert Tyler and the Tyler family; the opening of the Linus Pauling Science Center at Oregon State University; and what it has meant to him to be a Pauling. [Interview conducted by Chris Petersen]
June 8, 2012

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Battery industry
  • Chemistry--History.
  • Chemistry--Study and teaching (Higher)
  • Nutrition--History.

Personal Names

  • Kordesch, K. (Karl), 1922-
  • Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994.
  • Pauling, Ava Helen.
  • Pauling, E. Crellin (Edward Crellin), 1937-1997.

Corporate Names

  • California Institute of Technology.
  • Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine.
  • Oregon State University.
  • Oregon State University. Dept. of Chemistry.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories (document genres)

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Carson, Mina Julia. (creator)
    • Hedberg, Kenneth W., 1920- (interviewee)
    • Kordesch, Albert. (interviewee)
    • Kordesch, Erna. (interviewee)
    • Lawson, Stephen R., 1951- (interviewee)
    • Mathews, Christopher K., 1937- (interviewee)
    • Mead, Clifford. (creator)
    • Pauling, Cheryl. (interviewee)
    • Pauling, Kay Cole. (interviewee)
    • Pauling, Linus, 1925- (interviewee)
    • Pauling, Stephanie. (interviewee)
    • Petersen, Chris (Christoffer) (creator)
    • Sandgathe, Trevor. (creator)