Caltech was booming when the Paulings returned from their European stay in the fall of 1927. The number of students at the school had grown to 600, including 100 graduate students. Departments of geology and biology had been started. An aeronautics laboratory was on the drawing board. Funds were being raised to build the world's largest telescope, on nearby Mount Wilson. A steady stream of respected scientific visitors, including Werner Heisenberg, Arnold Sommerfeld, and Albert Einstein, kept professors and students abreast of the latest scientific findings. And more-than-adequate research funding, from both private donors and philanthropic foundations, was assured by the presence of Arthur Noyes and the Institute's leader, Nobel Prize—winning physicist Robert Millikan.
It was an exciting place to be for the new, 26-year-old assistant professor of theoretical chemistry, Linus Pauling. He was thrilled to have his first official office (a corner of the X-ray laboratory), his first graduate student (a Texan, J. Holmes Sturdivant, who quickly became a lifelong friend), and his first class to teach ("An Introduction to Wave Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry"). He was
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