Linus Pauling worked out the properties of chemical and molecular bonds. This helped him discover and verify the structure of the alpha helix, a secondary structure in many proteins. The alpha helix led him to discover the DNA genetic molecule and outline the three-dimensional structure of the DNA helix.
The central discovery of the properties of chemical bonds and the alpha helix helped Pauling demonstrate that sickle-cell anemia stemmed from an anomaly in just a single amino acid among the polypeptide chains. He also found a synthetic substitute for blood serum and devised an oxygen meter for use in submarines.