1952 May 11

Linus Pauling, Distinguished Scientist, Denied Passport For His Political Views


Linus Pauling was a distinguished chemist and biochemist, who became a political activist following World War II, opposing the use of nuclear weapons. On this day, it was disclosed that the State Department had denied him a passport two months earlier, which would have blocked his attendance at a conference in London. Because of the publicity, the government granted him and his wife “limited” passports so they could attend the conference.

In 1954, the State Department restored his passport so that he could travel to Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Other noted Americans who were denied passports during the Cold War included the famed African American singer and left-wing activist Paul Robeson, and the artist and left-wing activist Rockwell Kent.

Learn more about Pauling’s career in science and politics: Linus Pauling, Clifford Mead, and Thomas Hager, Linus Pauling: Scientist and Peacemaker (2001)

Watch an interview with Linus Pauling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHzG3nTA27M

Learn more about the right to travel: Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists (2013)

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