≡ Menu

Roger Hayward and The Architecture of Molecules

Architecture of Molecules Photo

Roger Hayward (1899-1979) was an architect, artist, scientific illustrator, and inventor. Today, he is probably best remembered for the pastel drawings he created for The Architecture of Molecules, a book coauthored by Linus Pauling and Hayward, published in 1964. Hayward drew 57 beautiful plates and Pauling wrote easy-to-understand texts accompanying each plates. The book introduced various topics in chemistry to the general public, including atomic structure, structure of small molecules, crystal structure, and protein structure. It was one of the first books in which art and science are perfectly blended together. Nature magazine called it “a fascinating work of art…”

Roger Hayward

Roger Hayward (1899-1979). Photo by Harvey of Pasadena. Image source: Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.

Collaboration between Pauling and Hayward

The collaboration between Pauling and Hayward started in the early of 1930s. During the years, they collaborated on the figures of many scientific publications and Pauling’s General Chemistry textbook published in 1948. Hayward was no ordinary artist as he tried to understand what he illustrated beneath the surface. For this reason and his skills to visualize 3D structures, Pauling had a lot of confidence in Hayward’s abilities to illustrate molecules and called him a scientist. The two enjoyed an evolving friendship throughout the years and The Architecture of Molecules was the apex of their collaboration.

Top: Pauling's draft image of the proposed structure of feather rachis keratin; bottom: Hayward's drawing appeared in the final PNAS publication (PNAS 37, 265-261, 1951)

Top: Pauling’s draft image of the proposed structure of feather rachis keratin; bottom: Hayward’s drawing appeared in the final PNAS publication (PNAS 37, 265-261, 1951). Image source: Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.

The visual aspect of The Architecture of Molecules

What made the book so special was the use of pastel as drawing media. Most molecules in the book are foreign to the general public. The pastel rendering of these molecules, however, brought a sense of familiarity to readers. Hayward also paid a lot of attention to the colors of the molecules. Although the color palette are based on the one used by scientists, Hayward made some subtle changes so that the colors are soft and pleasant. The pastel rendering and soft colors made the molecules look like something we saw in dreams.

Roger Hayward's pastel drawings for Linus Pauling. Image source: Special Collections, Oregon State University Libraries.

Roger Hayward’s pastel drawings for Linus Pauling. Image source: Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.

In these beautiful plates, Hayward also displayed his extraordinary skills for visualize complicated 3D structures such as crystals. We have to remember that these drawings were done long before the availability of computer graphics. Some drawings like the crystal structure of Ice II might take a lot of effort to make them scientifically accurate.

Roger Hayward’s pastel drawings for Linus Pauling. Image sourceImage source: Special Collections, Oregon State University Libraries.

Roger Hayward’s pastel drawings for Linus Pauling. Image source: Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.

Roger Hayward's draft image on the crystal structure of Ice II.

Roger Hayward’s draft image on the crystal structure of Ice II. Image source: Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.

 

Further reading:

Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man

Roger Hayward on The Pauling Blog

2 comments… add one

  • Janet December 5, 2013, 7:05 pm

    This is a wonderful article, Yan! Please keep them coming.

    • Yan Liang December 6, 2013, 4:34 pm

      Thanks Janet!

Leave a Comment