Monday, July 9, 2012

French Science: Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur Born was born in Dole, France on December 27, 1822 but he grew up in a town named Arbois. In his early years he was an average student, but he was gifted in drawing and painting. In 1848, he became professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. In 1849 he was married to Marie Laurent, daughter of the university's rector.
His work was oriented to demonstrate the process of fermentation by microorganisms; he was against the spontaneous generation. Through his research he showed that the growth of micro-organisms was responsible for spoiling beverages, such as beer, wine and milk. He invented a process in which liquids such as milk were heated to kill most bacteria already present within them; this process was soon afterwards known as pasteurization. Pasteur started to link the presence of microorganisms with the growth of diseases, this Lead Dr. Joseph Lister to develop antiseptic methods in surgery. Pasteur also discovered anaerobiosis, which explains why certain microorganisms can develop and live without air or oxygen.
 Later on Pasteur focused his work on chicken cholera. He started his experiments by inducing the disease in some chickens that later died. In a second experiment he inoculated a new group of chicken with the poisonous substance that contained an old sample of the germs that caused the chicken cholera, to his great surprise these chickens didn’t died, they just showed some symptoms of the disease.  What Pasteur didn´t knew was that the weakened bacteria had caused the chickens to become immune to the disease. Pasteur inoculated again these same chickens with a higher dose of the germs that caused the chicken cholera, he thought that they would be dead the next morning, however he was wrong;  the next morning, those chickens were living happily and healthy.   With these experiments Pasteur initiated a large race on the immunization field and the creation of vaccines.
Another disease that he investigated was the rabid, a diseased that killed lots of French at that time.  Pasteur was able to develop a vaccine for this disease, and it was tested only on 11 dogs before its first human trial. The vaccine was first applied to Joseph Meister, a 9 year old kid, on July 6, 1885, after the boy bitten by a rabid dog.
He died in 1895, near Paris, from complications of a series of strokes that had started in 1868. Nowadays
His legacy:
  • Avenue Louis Pasteur in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston, Massachusetts is named in his honor in the French manner with "Avenue" preceding the name of the dedicatee.[24]
  • The LycĂ©e Pasteur in Neuilly-sur-Seine is named after him.
  • The Avenue Pasteur in Saigon, Vietnam, is one of the few streets in that city to retain its French name.
  • Institute Pasteur

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