Sunday, April 29, 1962: White House state dinner

Forty-nine Nobel Prize winners are guests for a state dinner at the Kennedy White House. The president's remarks include this memorable line: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." (JFK's notes on an early draft of the speech indicate that he added the Jefferson reference.)

The day before, as well as that morning, Linus Pauling -- who won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of molecular structure -- had picketed outside the White House, protesting the resumption of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, Pauling attended the dinner.

This photo (from the JFK Library) shows the president talking to author Pearl Buck, while Mrs. Kennedy talks with poet Robert Frost.

* Full text of Kennedy remarks: @
* Associated Press story: @
* Time magazine article (May 11): @
* Summary and video clip of Linus Pauling: @
* Photo of Pauling protesting (April 28): @
* Note from Pauling on Jackie Kennedy's remark to him: @
* Photos from Corbis Images: @
* Materials from JFK Library: @

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