Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur (păstŭr´, Fr. lwē pästör´), 1822–95, French chemist. He taught at Dijon, Strasbourg, and Lille, and in Paris at the École normale supérieure and the Sorbonne (1867–89). His early research consisted of chemical studies of the tartrates, in which he discovered (1848) molecular dissymmetry. He then began work on fermentation, which had important results. His experiments with bacteria conclusively disproved (1862) the theory of spontaneous generation and led to the germ theory of infection. His work on wine, vinegar, and beer resulted in the development of the process of pasteurization. Of great economic value also was his solution for the control of silkworm disease, his study of chicken cholera, and his technique of vaccination against anthrax, which was successfully administered against rabies in 1885. In 1888 the Pasteur Institute was founded in Paris, with Pasteur as its director, to continue work on rabies and to provide a teaching and research center on virulent and contagious diseases.

See biographies by his son-in-law, René Vallery-Radot (1920, repr. 1960); R. J. Dubos, Louis Pasteur: Free Lance of Science (1986) and Pasteur and Modern Science (rev. ed. 1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Louis Pasteur: And the Hidden World of Microbes
Louise E. Robbins.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science
Rene J. Dubos.
Little, Brown, 1950
FREE! Pasteur: The History of a Mind
Ėmile Duclaux; Erwin F. Smith; Florence Hedges.
W.B. Saunders Company, 1920
Social Factors in Medical Progress
Bernhard J. Stern.
Columbia University Press, 1927
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Opposition to Pasteur and His Discoveries"
The Coil of Life: The Story of the Great Discoveries in the Life Sciences
Ruth Moore.
Knopf, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI: "Pasteur: Life Is A Germ"
Science and the Media: Alternative Routes in Scientific Communication
Massimiano Bucchi.
Routledge, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "The Public Science of Louis Pasteur: The Experiment on Anthrax in the Popular Press of the Time" begins on p. 101
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