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Detail of Biography - Louis Pasteur
Name :
Louis Pasteur
Date :
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1024
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Birth Date :
27/12/1822
Birth Place :
Dole, in the region of Jura France.
Death Date :
SEPT. 28, 1895
Biography - Louis Pasteur
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There was a time when a blacksmith used to treat a person suffering from dog bite. And if at all the dog was mad, the cure was worse than the disease : a very hot iron rod would be branded on the wound. Rarely, a person undergoing such a painful treatment would survive. A boy of nine was witness to a similar incident. After 50 long years since the occurrence of that incident, he found a painless treatment that replaced the horrendous remedies of those days with a very simple and not so long treatment.[br /]
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After a thorough examination of the rabid dog, he succeeded in providing a panacea. This was a major breakthrough in the world of science. The person to provide such a historic breakthrough was none other than Louis Pasteur. He was born, on December 27, 1822, to a poorly educated tanner, a trade of his forefathers. [br /]
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His father, Jean Joseph Pasteur was drawn as a conscript in 1811 also took part in the Peninsular War in 1812 and 1813. He belonged to the 3rd Regiment of the Line whose mission was to pursue guerillas of the famous Espoz y Mina in Northern Spain. Being a corporal first in July, 1812 and a sergeant in 1813, their Battalion returned to France and was dubbed as the "bravest amongst the brave", that led the emperor to distribute crosses among the men. Pasteur was then made a Sergeant Major on March 10, 1814 and received the cross of the Legion of Honor. This war veteran of Napoleon Buonaparte.’s grand army had faced many ups and downs before he settled down at a tannery upon the banks of the river "Furieuse".[br /]
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On the bank opposite the tannery resided a family of gardeners. Jean would often watch a young girl working in the garden early, every morning. She immediately noticed a very young yet, "old soldier"; all of 25 years keenly noticing every movement of hers. Her name was Jeanne Etiennette Roqui, future mother of Louis Pasteur. The Roqui' were vineyard workers , lampmakers and plumbers. Jeannne' parents were living out quietly in the old Salins faubourg. Jeanne was intelligent, modest and a kind hearted lady. The couple seems to be made for each other. [br /]
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The couples first child , a baby girl lived only for a few months, in the year 1818. In 1822, on a Friday dated December 27, Louis was born at about 2 am. Louis spent the first few months of his childhood in the ancient town of Dole. His mother Jeanne was a good housekeeper. She used to stitch all her children’s clothes out of her old skirts and shawls. Though the poor parents could not afford to give Louis the best of education, their enthusiasm led them to Marnoz town. Jean – Joseph moved there in the hope of getting more work with the couples common saying, "Louis’ future is worth all our sacrifices."[br /]
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At Arbois, the famous town, known for its grape farms, in the Jura region, Louis liked to play with his two younger sisters Virginie and Josephine. He also loved to hear the tales about Emperor Napoleon’s wars from his father. These heroic tales of valor aroused patriotic passion in his heart, a passion that lasted till his death.[br /]
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When Louis was six, his father sent him to a college in Arbois. Louis showed little interest in anything but drawing. He made a number of portraits of his parents and friends in his student days. During his childhood and youth, Louis did not show any sign of a great scientist in-the-making. Had he not become a scientist, he would certainly have been a great artist. Some of his portraits made in his youth, still adorn the walls of the Pasteur Institute.[br /]
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After having primary and secondary education in a college of Arbois, he joined the Royal College in Besancon. Louis never felt homesick at Besancon as he worked very hard, and with great enthusiasm. Moreover, his father would often drop in at weekends in preparation for the coming week's market and would utilize that opportunity to motivate his son’s interest towards studies. [br /]
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Louis earned his B.A. in 1840 and B.Sc. in 1842. He had all the qualities of a good professor. The next year, he joined the Ecole Normale Superieure, the well-known teachers college in Paris. Louis wanted to be a renowned professor. He was very much interested in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. He got his Ph.D. in 1847. At 26, he became Professor of Physics at Dijon Lycee and shortly after two years, he was invited to join Strasburg University. There he served successfully as a Professor of Chemistry. Here, he came in close contact with Monsieur Laurent, the Rector of the University. Within a few weeks, he fell in love with the Rector’s daughter, Marie.[br /]
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Marie was four years younger to Louis. She was very pretty, gentle and wise. The period of his courtship was the only time in his life Louis deserted his laboratory. He doubted whether Marie would accept him as her husband. He expressed his feelings thus in a letter, "I woke up suddenly with the idea that you did not love me, I began to weep… I had never cried so much since the death of my dear mother. My work means nothing to me any more. And I used to love my crystals so, I used to wish, every evening, that the night would be shorter so that I could return to my studies all the sooner!"[br /]
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Louis’ words touched Marie’s heart and eventually they got married on May 29, 1849. The marriage was ideal and Marie proved herself to be humble, intelligent and a cooperative wife. She could clearly feel her husband’s passion for science. According to one of Louis’ colleagues, Madame Pasteur was a priceless companion and the best of Pasteur's collaborator. The Pasteurs had five children but unfortunately only two of them survived.[br /]
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At Strasbourg, Pasteur achieved honors as well as prizes and used the money in developing his laboratory. Louis’ early success was at the age of 26. He presented a paper before the Paris Academy of Sciences on the Optical activity of Stereoisomers.[br /]
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In 1854, he became Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Sciences at the University of Lille. Until then, he had been a theoretical scientist, but now it was time to involve deeply into research. There he initiated a highly modern educational concept. He organized evening classes for many a young industrial labor. He demonstrated the first time, relationship between academy and industry – a concept, which is a bye-word of the present time. When academics and industry work in unison, the benefits are manifold in technological and qualitative terms. The above arrangement reveals the foresight of a great technopreneur of those days.[br /]
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At Lille, he met an industrialist, Monsieur Bigo. His meeting with Bigo inspired him to study the process of fermentation. In 1857, he published a paper on fermentation, which was the beginning of a new field of science, Microbiology, and a new process called Pasteurization. Although he continued his researches and equipped his laboratory with the money from the family budget, his wife never complained. All her life she showed her unshakable faith in Louis.[br /]
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The experiments led Pasteur to establish the new science of BACTERIOLOGY. He suggested the new theory – The Germ Theory of Disease.[br /]
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He was elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1862 and soon thereafter he was appointed as Director of Scientific Studies at Ecole Normale Superieure. He left the post in 1867. But in the same institution, he established a laboratory for Physiological Chemistry. The establishment was setup, thanks to the support of Emperor Napoleon III.[br /]
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In 1865, a disease that was destroying the silkworms threatened the silk industry in France. The French government commissioned Louis to solve the problem. In those days, silk industry was a major contributor to France’s economy. Louis took up the challenge and isolated the disease causing bacilli of two distinct diseases: Pebrine and Flacherie. He worked out techniques for improving hygiene in the silkworm nurseries and thus saved the silkworm industry from catastrophe. During this period, he lost his father, and his two daughters named Camille and Cecile, in a short span of three years. These tragedies resulted in cerebral hemorrhage for Louis, in the prime of his life. He was 46 then; and though his left arm and leg were paralyzed forever, his morale was unshattered and he continued his research works indefatigably.[br /]
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As he was afraid of dying prematurely without completing his research, he sent an urgent note to his wife and told his colleague, "I have so much still to do! There’s a whole world to be discovered."[br /]
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He further worked on Anthrax and Chicken Cholera.[br /]
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He voluntarily retired from the post of Director of University in 1867. In 1873, he was elected member of the Academy of Medicine and the next year, in recognition of his contribution, the French Parliament provided him with financial security so as to ensure his research continuity. In 1881, Louis succeeded in perfecting the technique of reducing the virulence of various diseases producing microorganisms.[br /]
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On April 27, 1882, Louis was elected to the French Academy and sat among the ‘Immortals’ – the 40 famous Frenchmen, the most distinguished in Letters and Science. He also attained the highest rank in Napoleon’s Order of Merit, the Grand Cross of Legion of Honor. After receiving honors from 36 governments all over the world, he was recognized as one of the greatest benefactors of mankind.[br /]
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The last major research project of the master scientist was on rabies. His health then started deteriorating. He suffered a serious attack of paralysis in his 46th year that prevented him from working further. The memorable day for Louis was July 6, 1885, when he saved the life of a nine-year-old boy, Joseph Meister, who had been bitten by a rabid dog. That experiment was a grand success, which paved the way for saving invaluable lives from the dreaded disease.[br /]
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Louis established a huge research institute – the Pasteur Institute, along with his friends and colleagues, in 1888.[br /]
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His eventful life ended on September 28, 1895 at the age of 73. The French Government buried ‘The National Hero’ at Saint Cloud, near Paris.[br /]
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Louis Pasteur, the French chemist, is known as the founder of Microbiological Sciences. A noteworthy figure in the field of science, he formulated the process of fermentation - a knowledge of the chief maladies which have scourged man and annimals - a knowledge of the measure by which either the body may be protected against these diseases, or the poison neutralised when once within the body. Every time we drink pasteurized milk, we heat up the same - a process called Pasteurization, we are reminded of him. Louis Pasteur was a revolutionary scientist who gave us an insight into health and equipped us to fight against infectious diseases. His scientific approach, genius and contribution to the process of pasteurization make Louis Pasteur as a Goliath among scientists of the last two centuries.[br /]
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[b]DEC. 27, 1822[/b] Birth of Louis Pasteur in Dole, in the region of Jura France.[br /]
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[b]1843[/b] He joined the Ecole Normale Superieure.[br /]
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[b]1849[/b] He was appointed lecturer of chemistry at Strasbourg University.[br /]
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[b]MAY 29, 1849[/b] He married Marie Laurent.[br /]
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[b]1853[/b] He was awarded the Cross-of the Legion of Honor.[br /]
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[b]1854[/b] Appointed professor of chemistry and Dean of the new faculty of sciences at Lille.[br /]
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[b]1857[/b] Became Manager and Director of scientific studies at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.[br /]
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[b]1862[/b] He was elected to the Academy of Sciences.[br /]
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[b]1864[/b] He invented Pasteurization.[br /]
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[b]1867[/b]
He was awarded the Grand Prix Medal at the Exposition Universelle for his work on Pasteurization, in July. He was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Sorbonne.[br /]
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[b]OCT. 19, 1868[/b] Suffered an attack of paralysis on his left side.[br /]
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[b]1870[/b] Publication of Studies on the Diseases of Silkworms.[br /]
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[b]1873[/b] He was elected to the Academy of Medicine.[br /]
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[b]1876[/b] Publication of Studies on Beer.[br /]
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[b]1877[/b] He propounded The Germ Theory of Disease.[br /]
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[b]1879[/b] Discovery of immunization against disease, using weakened bacteria.[br /]
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[b]JUNE 2, 1881[/b] Successful experiment of vaccinating sheep against anthrax.[br /]
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[b]1881[/b]
Awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.[br /]
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[b]1882[/b] He was elected to the Academie Francaise.[br /]
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[b]JULY 6, 1885[/b]
Successfully tested his first vaccine against Rabies on Joseph Meister.[br /]
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[b]NOV. 14, 1888[/b] Inauguration of The Pasteur Institute in Paris.[br /]
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[b]1894[/b]
The Pasteur Institute succeeded in producing vaccine for diphtheria.[br /]
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[b]SEPT. 28, 1895[/b]
Death of Louis Pasteur at Saint Cloud, near Paris, France.[br /]
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Louis Pasteur’s works created new milestones in medical history. Amongst them, his two major works, the Germ Theory of Disease and Pasteurization, are the cornerstones of modern medicine and the science of Microbiology. He worked throughout his life in solving practical problems of the industry, agriculture and medicine. The entire world benefited from his discoveries and new techniques that saved countless lives. He paved the ways for prevention of Silkworm diseases, Anthrax, Chicken Cholera and Rabies.[br /]
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He proved that microorganisms cause fermentation and disease. The credit for saving the beer, wine, and silk industries among others, of France as well as of the world, goes to him. What marks out Pasteur as a scientist is not his path-breaking achievement in science, but his concern for humanity at large. The network of Pasteur’s discoveries has been knitted in an organized manner, which begins with Molecular Asymmetry and ends with his Rabies Prophylaxis.[br /]
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[b]CRYSTALLOGRAPHY : FOUNDATION OF STEREOCHEMISTRY[/b][br /]
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The father of Microbiology and Immunology, Louis Pasteur launched his scientific career by studying the shapes of organic crystals. At the age of 26, in 1847, he was working for his doctorate in Chemistry at the laboratory of Antoine Ballard. In those days, Crystallography was not so developed a branch of chemistry.[br /]
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While working with tartaric acid crystals, which were suppose to refract light in one direction only, Louis found that there were two kinds of such crystals having a property known as polarization. One type of crystal polarized the light to the right, the other to the left. They were exact replica of each other. By merging the two types, Louis was able to produce an optically natural crystal. Thus, he proved that the crystals have two kinds of structures and named them isomers. His first work on molecular asymmetry formulated a fundamental law: Asymmetry differentiates the organic world from the mineral world. This discovery led to the creation of a new science - Stereochemistry.[br /]
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[b]FERMENTATION : FOUNDATION OF MICROBIOLOGY[/b][br /]
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The discovery of molecular asymmetry enriched Pasteur with the "inescapable forward moving logic." This logic led him towards studies of alcoholic fermentation. While serving as Dean at the Faculty of Sciences in Lille, Pasteur moved from Chemistry to Biology. At that time, Lille was the center of the sugar beet area in France. A leading industrialist called Monsieur Bigo, who complained that the alcohol was often contaminated in fermentation process, approached Pasteur. He visited Bigo’ factory, and took several samples of both, the healthy mash and the sick mash. He examined them under the microscope. There were little globules of yeast. He also found several smaller structures. He named them ferments, which are known as microbes today. He explained that by eliminating these microbes in the fermenting fluid, pure alcohol could be produced. Soon after, he did further experiments on fermentation.[br /]
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He reached the conclusion that each type of fermentation is linked to the existence of a specific ferment [micro-organism], which is a living being that can be studied by cultivation in an appropriate sterile medium. In 1857, he published a paper on fermentation, which was the basis of a new scientific branch, Microbiology. Pasteur’s success led to the solution of a problem faced by the French wine industry.[br /]
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[b]PASTEURIZATION[/b][br /]
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It was Emperor Napoleon-III, who asked Pasteur to find out the causes afflicting wine industry, which resulted in considerable economic losses to the wine industry of France. Pasteur moved to a vineyard in Arbois in 1864 and began to study the problem. He showed that fermentation involved microorganisms. He recommended the correct type, rather than that for lactic acid producing yeast, meant to be used in the winery for producing alcohol.[br /]
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He recommended that, to prevent spoilage of the wine during fermentation, it should be heated up to 55º C. He applied this process of gentle heating to many foods like beer and milk that went sour rapidly. It was a technique of killing the unwanted bacteria and then ensuring the container airtight. This heating process is today known as Pasteurization. Following this discovery, Louis Pasteur became one of the most acclaimed scientists not only of France, but of the entire world. Modern Pasteurization standards for milk require heating it at about 63º C temperature for 30 minutes.[br /]
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[b]SILKWORMS[/b][br /]
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The year 1865 was disastrous in terms of economic loss for France. The southern area of France was the heart of the silk industry, which contributed to a great extent, to the economic mite of the nation. When this important industry was threatened by a disease that was killing the silkworms, one of Pasteur’s old professors of chemistry, Professor Dumas asked Pasteur to rescue the industry from its imminent doom. The Ministry of Agriculture commissioned Pasteur to sort out the problem. Pasteur was a bit confused. He told Professor Dumas, "I know nothing about the subject." The Professor answered, "All the better! You will only have the ideas that come from your own observations !" Dumas’ words inspired Pasteur to take up the challenge. He moved to the affected area, the center of silkworm breeding. After three years’ hard work, he succeeded in isolating the bacilli of two distinct diseases – Pebrine and Flacherie. He worked out techniques for improving hygiene in the silkworm nurseries. He instructed the farmers to destroy all leaves, upon which the silkworms had fed. The silk industry was saved from catastrophe. This experimental success proved him to be a true patriot apart from a great scientist.[br /]
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[b]GERM THEORY OF DISEASE[/b][br /]
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When Pasteur saved the silk industry, it was the first time that he had worked with a living animal. It was also his first experience in preventive medicine. While working as a chemist, he took keen interest in biology. Now it was the time to groom as a medical researcher. Despite suffering from paralysis, he continued his work. Dragging a crippled leg, he went on with his research. He saved the beer industry and discovered how to grow wine grapes under antiseptic conditions. The theory of Spontaneous Generation, which held true for 20 centuries that life could arise spontaneously in organic materials, was proved false in 1877. It was Pasteur who developed the Germ Theory of Disease. At the same time, he also showed that life could exist without oxygen. In his words, "Fermentation is the consequence of life without air." The benefactor of many industries now became a full-fledged member of the medical fraternity. It is a fact that he never studied medicine nor did he ever become a doctor. His discovery of anaerobic life opened the doors of germs causing septicemia and gangrene. Today, it is possible to devise techniques to kill microbes and control contamination. It was Pasteur who gifted the world his germ theory. [br /]
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[b]ANTHRAX AND CHICKEN CHOLERA[/b][br /]
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From 1877 to 1879, Pasteur employed his method of sterilization, which revolutionized surgery and obstetrics, against infectious diseases. He discovered the bacteria responsible for human illnesses. They were staphylococcus, streptococcus and pneumococcus. He further concentrated on anthrax, an infectious disease in animals, on farms all over Europe, in those days. Anthrax can be transmitted from animals to humans through contact or inhalation of spores. This disease is caused by bacillus anthracis and Robert Koch discovered it in 1876. The disease primarily affects sheep, horses, cattle, goats and hogs, and is usually restricted to the people like farmers, butchers, and veterinarians. Pasteur, expanding on the work of Robert Koch, isolated the germ and developed a method of vaccinating sheep and cattle against anthrax. As soon as he finished his work on anthrax, he discovered the microbes responsible for cholera and tuberculosis.[br /]
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In 1879, he began his work on Chicken Cholera. Pasteur obtained a new, virulent culture, and it was injected into the new chickens, fresh from the market. The new chicken soon developed chicken cholera, but all the others remained healthy. In those days, thousands of chickens were dying of chicken cholera. By vaccinating those chickens, he helped the French chicken farmers. Soon almost every country in Europe was making the anthrax vaccine. He proved that some diseases require other methods of prevention and cure, but there are many for which a vaccine is the best precaution.[br /]
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[b]RABIES[/b][br /]
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Pasteur, leaving his work in Chemistry, now had established himself as a successful Bacteriologist. The last and certainly the most extraordinary achievement of Pasteur was the development of vaccine against hydrophobia or rabies. The disease was a nightmare for the people, because the treatment applied to the victim included burning the dog-bitten wounds with a red-hot poker. But this only worked if done soon after the moment of infection. If the rabies virus entered the bloodstream, it led to a painful and horrible death of the victim. Pasteur and his assistant Emile Roux conducted research together with saliva of the infected animal. Pasteur arrived at the conclusion that the virus was also present in the nervous system of the brain. Roux drilled a hole in a dog’s head, and Pasteur injected the virus into it. Within two weeks, the dog died of rabies.[br /]
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He used the dry tissue of infected animal to eventually gain a weakened form of virus suitable for injecting into humans. Pasteur conducted his experiment several times and every time he was able to immunize a dog against the virulent attack of rabies. Pasteur was forced to try it on human beings, but he was not so sure. He continued to insist that more research work was necessary before applying it to human beings. Eventually on July 6, 1885, he used his vaccine to save the life of a nine-year old boy, bitten by a rabid dog. The successful vaccination proved to be a new method to protect animals as well as human beings against the horrible disease. With the Rabies experiment, his grand voyage of research partially ended. Rabies was the last major research undertaken by Louis Pasteur.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The two great things, which have been the passion and the delight of my life: the love of science and the cult of home.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The best proof that an observer has struck the right path is the constant fruitfulness of his work.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The greatest disorder of the mind is to let will direct it.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Science belongs to no one nation.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Doctors and scientists of the future, do not let yourselves be tainted by barren skepticism nor discouraged by sadness of certain hours that creep over every nation. Do not become angry at your opponents for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Science… it is my life… it has brought me a deepness of pleasure that I have always known yet never realized.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] There is a time in every man’s life when he looks at his life, when he wonders how he will be remembered. It can happen with age or with tragedy or closeness of death.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] I believe, invincibly, that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will unite, not to destroy, but to build, and that the future will belong to those, who have done most for suffering humanity.[br /]
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[b]GRAND HONOR[/b][br /]
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Discoveries of Louis Pasteur brought a revolution in the fields of chemistry, medicine, surgery, hygiene, agriculture and industry.[br /]
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Today we enjoy the fruits of these discoveries, which have immesely contributed to overall improvement of our health.[br /]
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His researches have subsequently advanced both science and scientific techniques. In recognition of the brilliance of this great scientist, UNESCO and the Pasteur Institute jointly designated 1995, ‘The Year of Louis Pasteur.[br /]
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It can be termed as the greatest tribute to Louis Pasteur ever, bestowed upon by the world.[br /]
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