Louis Pasteur biography

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Louis Pasteur biography

“ I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are temples of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will grow, strengthen and improve. Here, humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the work of nature, while humanity’s own works are all to often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction.” Louis Pasteur.
Louis Pasteur, the founder of microbiology was born in a poor family. But he studied hard to get a good education. So he helped the world with things like the souring of milk or the fermentation of wine or beer for the treatment for killing painful diseases such as rabies. Louis Pasteur was born in Dôle in France on 27th December 1822 and was brought up in nearby town of Arbois in family of tanner with poor education, Jean Pasteur. Louis wasn’t an outstanding student in his years of elementary education. Rather than learning, he went fishing or drawing. His portraits were so great that he could easily become an artist. His father didn’t want Louis to end up as an artist. But Louis was more interested in scientific subjects as chemistry and biology. After graduation he decided to be teacher, but he went to École Normale Superieure in Paris. He did his first work on molecular asymmetry, bringing together principles of chemistry, crystallography and optics. That was the basis for a new science – stereochemistry. In 1857 he returned back to École Normale as a director of scientific studies. In 1867 he became a professor at Sorbonne University. And finally in 1888 he became a director of Pasteur Institute, which was found for further research in microbiology. He died on September 28th 1895 after several strokes. During his life he did great job for the world. Another research project after crystallography in the year 1847, was his work on the fermentation process. A French distiller named Bigo asked Pasteur, whether he could find out why alcohol becomes contaminated with unknown substances during the fermentation process. He demonstrated that the fermentation process is always linked to specific a microorganism or ferment. This is the basis of microbiology. The wine souring was a source of large losses in the French wine industry. At Napoleon III’s request Pasteur went to the vineyards in the place, where grew up, in Arbois in 1864.

He found out that the bacteria that spoils wine can be eliminated by heating it at a temperature of 55 ºC. Spoilage of food can be preserved by liquidation of microbes, which are already present in the food and protect food from another spoilage. The process got it’s name after it’s inventor – pasteurization. This is the most used process to conserve food without damaging it. He also helped the French silk industry to get rid of the dangerous silkworm disease, which made big losses in the French economy.
He spent the last period of his lifetime working on causes and prevention of diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, smallpox, anthrax or septicemia. But he is best known for his investigation in the prevention of rabies, also known as hydrophobia. Pasteur and Roux attempted to transfer rabies on healthy dogs by injecting them with the saliva of rabid animals. Research found that the active agent of rabies is located in the spinal cord and in the brain. But they weren’t able to find a specific organism causing disease, so they applied extracts from the spinal cord of rabid dogs directly to the brain of healthy ones. This produced rabies in the test subjects in few days. The purpose was to develop a vaccine that would stop the rabid agent from the place of the bite through spinal cord to the brain. The development of vaccine: “Animal was injected by suspension of spinal cord of rabid animals that were attenuated in strength by air drying over a 12-day period of time in the now-famous Roux Bottle. A strip of spinal cord was suspended from a hanger in the center of the bottle containing two holes, one on top and one on the lower side. Air entered by lower hole, passed over a drying agent and exited from the top. The longer the cord was dried, the less potent was tissue in producing rabies.”
The treatment plan developed immunity from rabies by injecting day by day with stronger extract of dried spinal cord for 12 days under the skin. Then was the subject was resistant against bites of rabid animals. This brought great publicity.
But could he test his vaccine on humans? In 1885 he started additional research. But fate had another idea. Events made him act sooner. On July 6, 1886, a 9-year old boy named Joseph Meister and his mother appeared in Pasteur’s lab. The boy was bitten by a rabid dog. He was so badly mauled that he couldn’t walk. His mother asked Pasteur to treat her son. He had treated several dogs, and most of them were resistant to rabies. Pasteur after discussions with his physician colleagues, he started to treat the boy.

After the procedure, Meister was able to walk and remained in good health for his lifetime. On March 1, 1888 the Pasteur Institute was established as a private, state-approved clinic for rabies treatment, a research center for infectious diseases and teaching center. The last years of his life he dedicated to the Institute and enjoyed the fame and publicity. He died in 1895 and was buried as a national hero, by government in cathedral of Notre Dame and transferred to his tomb in Pasteur Institute in Paris. In a tragic note to history, Joseph Meister, the first publicly treated person from rabies, returned to Pasteur Institute and worked there as a gatekeeper. In 1940 after Nazi occupation of France, he was asked by occupiers to open Pasteur’s crypt. Rather than comply, Joseph Meister committed suicide!
“Pasteur’s work is not simply sum of his discoveries. It also represents the revolution of scientific methodology. Louis Pasteur was a humanist, always working towards the improvement of the human condition. He was a free man who never hesitated to take a issue with the prevailing yet false ideas of his time.”.

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