The Epic History of Biology

By Anthony Serafini | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20
The Age of Pasteur and the Development of the Microscope

Although Pasteur's name all but outshone other scientists of this period, it is evident that Pasteur built his research upon earlier titans of science. Robert Koch added to the biological understanding of disease, for instance, when he found Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera. Like Pasteur, he averred that contaminated food and water were necessary elements in spreading the malady.

Koch was born in 1843 and took a degree in biology and chemistry at the famed University of Göttingen under the pathologist Jacob Henle. The latter had, among other things, also anticipated the germ theory of disease, despite years of persecution and torture in Prussia because of his Jewish background and "anti-establishment" views. The university awarded Koch his doctor of medicine degree in 1866, and for a number of years thereafter he did little work, preferring the quiet practice of medicine. He even offered his services to the government during the Franco-Prussian war. Though it is not absolutely

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