Welcome to another article of Facts King on Louis Pasteur facts! In this article, we will talk about one of the most important men for science in the 19th century. His life was full of great discoveries and controversies, so keep reading to discover all the interesting things that involve him!
Who is Louis Pasteur?
Louis Pasteur’s name might sound familiar to you since you probably did some of his experiments in biology class. These experiments could have seemed boring. But without the works of this scientist, you would have to drink milk that is filled with bacteria or would not have vaccination.
He was born to a poor family in France, in the eastern region. He moved to different French cities before he entered the École normale supérieur. Here, he got his master’s degree in science and became a laboratory assistant. Besides the great discoveries he did in his laboratory, Pasteur was a professor of chemistry and physics in different universities such as the University of Strasbourg or the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
Interesting Facts about Louis Pasteur
1. He wasn’t a brilliant student when he was young, and he preferred arts.
When he was young, Pasteur was a regular student who had good drawing and painting skills. In fact, he painted a number of portraits of his family, where he showed he paid attention to details and was precise.
In 1842, he got a degree in general science, but his grades in chemistry were average. This changed when he entered the École normale supérieur. In that institution, he went to lectures of great scientists like Jean-Baptiste Dumas, and he was asked to work as a laboratory assistant by Antoine Jérôme Balard, a French chemist.
2. He had five children, but only two survived.
When he was a professor University of Strasbourg, Pasteur fell in love. They got married in 1849 and had five children, but three of them died in their childhood of typhoid.
3. He created the process of pasteurization.
Pasteur started to work with fermentation because a wine manufacturer asked him for advice. He published works about lactic acid and alcoholic fermentation. He proved that the responsible for fermentation was yeast and not decomposition. Also, he showed that bacteria could change the flavor of drinks and spoil them.
That’s why he invented the process of pasteurization, where he heated drinks like milk or beer to kill bacteria. He made several attempts to find the perfect heating temperature for each beverage that wouldn’t alter their flavor and still kill harmful bacteria.
4. He disproved spontaneous generation.
Until Pasteur’s experiments, it was believed that life could emerge from nonliving substances. For example, people believed that fleas emerged from dust.
To disprove this theory, Pasteur designed a series of experiments which were successful. He boiled liquids and placed them in closed flasks, demonstrating that organisms only grew if they were opened. He also placed these liquids in flasks with swan necks and proved that organisms only grew if the liquids touched the walls of the necks, which were contaminated by the air from the outside. Proving that spontaneous generation is wrong is one of the well-known Louis Pasteur facts.
5. He made great discoveries in the vaccination and immunology field.
In 1879, Pasteur discovered that chicken became immune to chicken cholera if he injected an artificially weakened bacteria that caused the disease. He used this method to develop a vaccine for rabies and anthrax.
Additionally, Pasteur was the person who coined the term “vaccine”. He did it to honor the work of Edward Jenner, who had previously made notable progress in this field, using the “vaccinia” virus.
6. He ordered his family to keep his laboratory notebooks private.
Less than 10 years before his death, Pasteur asked his family to keep his laboratory notebooks in secret. They did exactly what he asked until 1964, when his grandson gave the notebooks to the French National Library.
7. The publication of his notebooks caused several controversies.
This is a fascinating fact about Louis Pasteur. After studying Pasteur’s laboratory notebooks, important controversies have emerged. It was discovered that Pasteur lied about some of his trials and that he made certain mistakes in his experiments.
For example, when using his rabies vaccine on a child, he said that he had already tried it on 60 dogs. However, according to his notebooks, he had only tried on 11. His notebooks also say that he had tried the vaccine on two people: one died, and the other one survived but may have not had rabies. This is important because Pasteur didn’t have a medical license to treat people, making his actions illegal.
8. He suffered from a stroke which paralyzed half of his body.
When he was 46 years old, he had a brain stroke. As result, half of his body was paralyzed, but he was able to recover and lived almost 30 years more. However, he suffered from another stroke and died a year later, in 1985, because he never fully recovered.
I hope that you enjoyed learning about these facts about Louis Pasteur. To see the lives of other great people in history, visit historical people pages.