Louis Pasteur & his brilliant contributions to modern science

(Bellis, Mary. "Louis Pasteur - Germ Theory of Disease.")

Louis Pasteur was born in Dole, France in 1822. He studied science at the Ecôle Normale in Paris, France. At age 32, he became the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lille (Trueman, C. N. "Louis Pasteur.").

Pasteur developing the Germ Theory in his laboratory ("Louis Pasteur." Famous Scientists.)

Important Ideas and Discoveries:

  • Pasteur's first important discovery happened while working with a microscope to figure out why beer was going bad in a factory - he discovered that there were microbes in the air that caused substances to go bad (Trueman, C. N. "Louis Pasteur.").
  • After lots of experiments on different liquids such as milk, vinegar, wine, etc., he was able to prove that:
Air contained living organisms; That these microbes can produce putrefaction; That these microbes could be killed by the heating of the liquid they were in; that these microbes were not uniformly distributed in air" (Pasteur 1864)
  • Next, Pasteur applied his results to humans and the transfer of diseases among living beings ... he came to develop another incredibly impactful idea - the Germ Theory
  • Germ Theory: the theory that certain diseases are caused by the invasion of the body by microorganisms (Ullmann, Agnes. "Louis Pasteur.")
  • This theory inspired Pasteur to study the vaccine invented by Dr. Jenner to fight smallpox - he worked with two doctors (Emile Roux and Charles Chamberland) and ended up developing a vaccine for chicken cholera, and then eventually a vaccine for rabies (Ullmann, Agnes. "Louis Pasteur.").
Pasteur studying the rabies disease - creating the vaccine. ("LOUIS PASTEUR - WORLDWIDE BENEFACTOR." AwesomeStories.com)

Spread of Ideas & Impact on Modern World:

  • Pasteur's papers published about his ideas were ridiculed at first; many of his contemporaries were very critical of him:
I am afraid that the experiments you quote, m. Pasteur, will turn against you. The world into which you wish to take us is really too fantastic." (La Presse, 1860)
  • Once he created experiments to prove his theories on fermentation, he presented his evidence to a large group of famous scientists at the University of Paris (Trueman, C. N. "Louis Pasteur.").
  • After that, many more scientists and intellectuals began to trust his findings.

Most of Pasteur's theories and discoveries are still in use today:

  • His Germ Theory - as stated above - introduced sterilization techniques in hospitals all over Europe, and in modern times hospitals are still very antiseptic, or sterile, so as not to spread disease or infection (Ullmann, Agnes. "Louis Pasteur.").
  • The Pasteur Effect (the idea that the fermentation process could be arrested by passing oxygen through the fermenting fluid) is still considered valid today as well (Ullmann, Agnes. "Louis Pasteur.")
  • Pasteur has some 30 institutes named after him today, as well as an impressive number of schools, hospitals, and streets that bear his name.

In 1895, Louis Pasteur passed away in Saint-Cloud, leaving a legacy behind him that would last for hundreds of years.

Works Cited

  • Bellis, Mary. "Louis Pasteur - Germ Theory of Disease." About.com Inventors. About.com, Web. 29 Jan. 2017. (Image: “LouisPasteur1”)
  • "Louis Pasteur." Famous Scientists. Famousscientists.org, 20 May 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017. (Image: “LouisPasteur3”)
  • "LOUIS PASTEUR - WORLDWIDE BENEFACTOR." AwesomeStories.com, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2017. (Image: “LouisPasteur5)
  • Trueman, C. N. "Louis Pasteur." History Learning Site. The History Learning Site, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
  • Ullmann, Agnes. "Louis Pasteur." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 01 Apr. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.

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