Louis Pasteur

 

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Dec 27, 1822 – Sep 28, 1895

Microbiologist, Teacher, Chemist

French

“If it is terrifying to think that life may be at the mercy of multiplication of those infinitesimally small creatures, it is also consoling to hope that Science will not always remain powerless before such enemies.”

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Pasteur is reported to have had an obsessive fear of dirt and infection. He refused to shake hands with strangers or even friends and wiped his glasses and plates before dining.

As a small digit, Pasteur was a mediocre but careful student, who showed great artistic dna. Fortunately, Louis was encouraged to continue his formal education and received his Doctorate of Science when he was 25. By 26, Pasteur was famous for his study of crystals and pioneered the science of stereochemistry, but the work for which he is most recognized began with the problem of spoiled alcohol. Pasteur discovered that tiny microbes, if present in wine as it is being made, caused the wine to sour. He proved that applying controlled heat, a process now known as pasteurization, destroyed the microbes. Even though scientists saw bacteria two hundred years before Pasteur was born, they didn’t know what they did or where they came from. The accepted theory was “spontaneous generation” (microbes, insects and even some small animals sprang into life from non-living components). Invalidating the idea of spontaneous generation, Pasteur’s painstaking experiments proved microbes traveled from the outside into what they infected. At 45, Pasteur had a stroke, which paralyzed his right side, but he continued working with the help of assistants. Pasteur went on to demonstrate that many diseases are caused by germs multiplying in the body. He discovered if microbes were weakened and then injected into an animal, the animal developed a resistance to that microbe. Pasteur created vaccinations for anthrax, chicken cholera and rabies, and he improved the smallpox vaccination. Pasteur’s discoveries in germ theory and immunology have saved countless lives.