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Heroes of Progress: Louis Pasteur

The life of Louis Pasteur

  • He was born on December 27, 1827, to a poor Catholic family in Jura, France.
  • In 1842, he graduated with a degree in science from the Royal College of Besançon. A year later, he started studying at École Normale Supérieure, and in 1848, Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg.
  • In 1856, Pasteur started to study fermentation to help a local wine manufacturer overcome the problem of alcohol souring.

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Heroes of Progress: Louis Pasteur

Heroes of Progress: Louis Pasteur

https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=1943

humanprogress.org

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Key Ideas

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur is known as the father of microbiology. He is renowned for developing the germ theory of disease, creating the process of pasteurization, and for changing the way scientists develop vaccines.

The life of Louis Pasteur

  • He was born on December 27, 1827, to a poor Catholic family in Jura, France.
  • In 1842, he graduated with a degree in science from the Royal College of Besançon. A year later, he started studying at École Normale Supérieure, and in 1848, Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg.
  • In 1856, Pasteur started to study fermentation to help a local wine manufacturer overcome the problem of alcohol souring.

The "spontaneous generation" theory

Before Pasteur, people believed the doctrine of "spontaneous generation" - that life spontaneously appeared from non-living matter.

This theory was used to explain why food spoiled and how infection developed. Pasteur disproved this theory.

Two remarkable discoveries

  • Pasteur found that heating beverages to a temperature between 140F to 212F (60°C-100°C) killed bacteria in those liquids - a process known as pasteurization.
  • He also turned his attention to the development of vaccines. He used artificially weakened viruses as vaccines and went on to develop a vaccine for anthrax and rabies.

Pasteur provided the proof for the existence of the germ theory of disease and revolutionized the way we think about human health.

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