Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science

Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science

Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science

Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science

Excerpt

Although the roads to human power and to human knowledge lie close together, and are nearly the same, nevertheless...it is safer to begin and raise the sciences from those foundations which have relation to practice, and to let the active part itself be as the seal which prints and determines the contemplative counterpart.

-- FRANCIS BACON

L OUIS PASTEUR was born on December 27, 1822, at Dôle in the eastern part of France, where his father owned and managed a small tannery. When he died on September 28, 1895, at Villeneuve l'Etang near Paris, his name had already become legendary as that of the hero who had used science to master nature for the benefit of mankind. Many fields had been opened or enriched by his labors: the structure of the chemical molecule; the mechanism of fermentation; the role played by microorganisms -- in the economy of matter, in technology, in disease; the theory and practice of immunization; the policy of public hygiene. But the importance of his discoveries is not in itself sufficient to account for his immense fame. Among Pasteur's contemporaries, several equaled and a few surpassed him in scientific achievement, yet of him only was it said that "he was the most perfect man who has ever entered the kingdom of science." For Pasteur's name evokes not only the memory of a great scientist, but also that of a crusader who devoted his life to the welfare of man.

There were many traits in Pasteur's personality which enormously magnified the importance of his scientific contributions to . . .

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