Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
Louis was admitted to the local village primary school. He was an average student. During that time, whenever any one suffered from rabid dog bite, he was taken to an ironsmith. The ironsmith would heat a rod till it become red hot. It was the inserted in the wound where the rabid dog had bit. If the person was lucky, he would survive or else would die. Louis had seen this treatment since he was nine year of age. His heart would sink at the sight of it. He always felt like finding an alternative treatment.
Pasteur went to the Ecole Normale Superiure, a university in Paris where he studied crystals. Pasteur had then heard lectures on chemistry by the famous chemical researcher and discoverer of bromine, Antoine J Balard. Like Benjamin Franklin, Balard also believed that scientific research could be carried out in a small laboratory; Balard had set up a laboratory for this purpose. When he saw Pasteur, he was impressed by him. He invited Pasteur to assist him at his laboratory. Pasteur happily took up the invitation and joined Balard in his research work. Here he could continue the research finding of Pasteur to Jeane Baptiste Biot, the famous French physicist. He checked the papers and sent them to the French science academy for further evaluation.
Pasteur’s preliminary experiments were on the crystals. His study clearly identified two types of optically active crystals- producing equal and opposite rotation of polarized light. His other important study was about fermentation or food getting sour and having bad smell. This process is due to microorganisms which he clarified. This process is very useful sometimes, while at other times, it spoils and turns to waste the food products. Due to this discovery of Pasteur, the winemakers of France who manufactured wine from grapes were immensely benefited. After extensive study he discovered that microorganisms are responsible for the fermentation process. It is possible to control this process in order to obtain an appropriate resultant benefit from the same.
The second result of this study was of ensuring milk remaining fresh for longer duration by a process now called Pasteurisation. This required milk to be heated to called Pasteurisation. This required milk to be heated to a certain temperature and then cooling it, in order to kill the harmful bacteria. Pasteur was honoured for his work and is known as the ‘Father of Pasteurisation’. Diesease that had entered in the rearing stage of the silkworms affected the production of silk in France. Pasteur undertook study and helped eliminate the same thus saving the industry from destruction. He identified the microscopic organisms responsible for the spreading of diseases caused by microorganisms. The bite of a rabid dog and the disease rabies caused due to it was extensively studied by Pasteur and he finally invented a vaccine for its cure. Known as cure for hydrophobia, a significant achievement then, got him name and fame throughout the world.
He had to face tremendous difficulties and misfortune in his personal life. Jenny, his first daughter died at an early age of 9 years. Again in 1865, his 2-year-old daughter Camilla died after a short illness. In 1866, his 12 year-old son sybil died of typhoid. When France and Germany was at war in 1871, his son Jeane Baptiste of 20, was declared lost during the action. Pasteur left all his works and went out in search of his lost son. Finally, by God’s grace, Baptiste returned home with injury. He started recovering slowly. Pasteur was very angry with the Germans. Years later the German government wanted to honour him by presenting him a medal for his achievements. Pasteur however, did not accept it.
On September 28, 1895, Louis Pasteur died leaving the world with memories of his great achievements like the Anti-Rabies vaccine, Pasteurisation and the path that he found to eliminate diseases.
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