Louis Pasteur


Louis Pasteur, a widely renowned scientist, discovered a process known as "pasteurization," in which he found that by rapidly heating, then cooling, a liquid, many of the microorganisms that caused fermentation would be destroyed. The results of his discovery allowed for the lengthened preservation of liquids and the prevention of related diseases, as well as a greater understanding of bacterial microorganisms.

Pasteur was born in Dole, France in 1822. After extensive study at the École Normale Supérieure, he began researching the effects of polarized light on chemical compounds. He later went on to study the process of fermentation, where he came to the realization that the development of bacteria in liquids was brought about by microorganisms, which were not produced by the liquids themselves but came from the outside world. By heating drinks such as milk, beer, and wine, Pasteur was able to rid them of bacteria and keep them from spoiling quickly and causing disease. His work led him to later be called the father of germ theory, though he was not the first to create this theory. He also did work with anaerobic microorganisms—those that can develop without oxygen—in what is called the Pasteur Effect.

Louis Pasteur later went on to create the first vaccine for rabies as well as for anthrax, a disease that affected cattle. He won the Leeuwenhoek medal in 1895 shortly before his death from complications following a series of strokes. He is still greatly remembered in the scientific community for his extensive work in disease prevention.

Key events during the life of Louis Pasteur:

Born in Dole, France
Became professor of chemistry the University of Strasbourg, married the daughter of the college's rector
Became director of scientific studies at the École Normale Supérieure
Completed the first successful test of pasteurization
Created a vaccine for anthrax
Pasteur's rabies vaccine was tested on a young boy, and when the boy was found healthy the vaccine was deemed a success
Died due to complications after a series of strokes

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
The Discovery of Microbes  in  The Wonders of Scientific Discovery  by  Charles R. Gibson
Some Humane Discoveries  in  The Wonders of Scientific Discovery  by  Charles R. Gibson
Louis Pasteur  in  Story Lives of Great Scientists  by  F. J. Rowbotham

Image Links

Louis Pasteur
 in Story Lives of Great Scientists

Sent to school at Paris
 in Story Lives of Great Scientists

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