When Linus Pauling first began investigating vitamin C in the 1960s, it wasn't difficult for him to stay current with the latest findings--because he was the one doing most of the discovering. Now, he says, there are "probably 3,000 papers a year" that involve vitamin C.

If anyone has the stamina to read them all, it would be Pauling, now 90. He is an avid reader, logging a minimum of five hours a day. Of course, Pauling's work goes way beyond the vitamin he claimed could cure the common cold and serve as a treatment for cancer. The two-time Nobel Prize winner's interests cover the whole spectrum of science, which means he is faced with absorbing an overwhelming amount of information. Despite his penchant for reading, Pauling says, "It's impossible to keep up with discoveries in science, even in a limited field such as vitamin C."

Scientists everywhere confront the...

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