All about him
- Occupation: Chemist and microbiologist
- Born: December 27, 1822 in Dole, France
- Died: September 28, 1895 in Marnes-la-Coquette, France
- Best known for: The discovery of vaccinations, pasteurization, and proving that germs cause disease.
His early life
French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822, in Dole, located in the Jura region of France. He grew up in the town of Arbois . An average student, Pasteur was skilled at drawing and painting. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (1840), Bachelor of Science degree (1842) and a doctorate (1847) at the École Normale in Paris.
Pasteur then spent several years researching and teaching at Dijon Lycée. In 1848, he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, where he met Marie Laurent, the daughter of the university's rector. They wed on May 29, 1849, and had five children, though only two survived childhood.
Bacteria and Germ Theory
During Pasteur's time, people believed that microbes such as bacteria appeared due to "spontaneous generation." They thought that the bacteria just appeared out of nowhere. Pasteur ran experiments to see if this was true. Through his experiments he proved that germs (i.e. bacteria) were living things that came from other living things. They didn't just spontaneously appear. This was a major discovery in the study of biology and earned Pasteur the nickname the "Father of Germ Theory."
- Pasteur used his knowledge of germs to investigate how beverages such as milk was spoiled by microbes such as bacteria and molds. He found that heating up the liquids would kill most of the microbes and allow the beverages to last longer and be safer to drink. This process became known as pasteurization and is still done on many foods such as milk, vinegar, cheese, and juices.
- Pasteur continued to investigate with diseases. He found that he could make a weak form of a disease that would cause people to become immune to the stronger form of the disease. He called this weak form a "vaccine." He first discovered this by working with cattle on the disease anthrax. The first vaccine he gave to a human was the rabies vaccine. He administered it to a nine year old boy name Joseph Meister in 1885.
Pasteur is most remembered by the Pasteur Institute which he established in 1887. Today the Pasteur Institute is one of the world leaders in battling infectious diseases.
Louis Pasteur died in 1895 from a stroke. He was buried in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France.