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A chemist and microbiologist known as the “father of bacteriology” and “father of microbiology.” Louis Pasteur and his prolific career benefitted not only the people of his time but also the people of today.
See the fact file below for more information on Louis Pasteur, or you can download our 27-page Louis Pasteur worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1882 to parents Jean Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne-Etiennette Roqui in Dole, Jura, France.
- His father, Jean Joseph, was a tanner and a major sergeant. From him, Louis Pasteur learned and imbibed patriotism.
- Louis Pasteur grew up in a Catholic upbringing, contributing to his strong faith in God.
- He attended primary school in Arbois and secondary school in Besancon. As a student, Louis Pasteur was average but gifted in painting and drawing.
CAREER AND CONTRIBUTIONS
- Louis Pasteur earned his master’s degree and a doctorate degree in 1845 and 1847, respectively, at the École Normale Supérieure.
- After finishing his doctorate degree and while waiting for his appointment, Louis Pasteur studied the ability of certain crystals to exhibit optical activity.
- He was able to demonstrate that optical activity has a relationship with the shape of the crystals of a compound.
- He was able to conclude that there is some internal arrangement in a compound that allows them to twist the light. This discovery holds importance in the early history of structural chemistry.
- In 1848, Louis Pasteur was appointed professor of physics in a secondary school. Later on, he was appointed as a chemistry professor at the University of Strasbourg.
- In 1849, he married Marie Laurent, the daughter of the University Rector. They had five children but only two survived childhood. Three of his children died due to typhoid fever which made him study infectious diseases.
- In 1854, Louis Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry and dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lille. This is where he began his studies in fermentation.
- He was asked to help solve problems involving beer and wine manufacturing. This was the start of his series of studies on alcoholic fermentation.
- During this time, spontaneous generation was widely accepted. It is a theory that states that living matter can arise from nonliving matter. Only a few, like Pasteur, believed that microorganisms are existing and that they can cause fermentation as well as diseases.
- Louis Pasteur studied different aspects and types of fermentation.
- This included the production of lactic acid and the fermentation of butyric acid.
- In 1857, Louis Pasteur returned to Paris to serve as the director of scientific studies at the École Normale Supérieure. Here he continued working on fermentation. In the same year, he presented pieces of evidence showing the participation of living organisms in the process of fermentation. Also, how a specific organism causes a certain type of fermentation. This came to be the Germ Theory of Fermentation. Furthermore, he proposed that putrefaction is due to specific germs that can only operate in the absence of oxygen.
- This process is known as the Pasteur Effect. This also gave rise to the understanding that organisms can either be aerobic or anaerobic. Aerobic organisms live in the presence of oxygen while anaerobic organisms live in the absence of it.
- In 1863, at the request of Napoleon III, Pasteur studied wine and the possible causes of contamination.
- He found out that microbes are the cause of contamination. He devised a simple process to prevent contamination. By simply heating the wine to temperatures less than 100 C, microbes that cause contamination are killed. This process is known as pasteurization.
- These days, pasteurization is no longer used for wines that benefit from the aging process, as it kills the microorganisms that contribute to aging.
- Aside from wine, Pasteur also contributed to the beer industry by devising a method that can prevent the deterioration of the product during transportation.
- Since 1861, Pasteur has been conducting studies that disprove spontaneous generation. Many scientists believed in this theory, that life can arise from nonliving matter. Only a handful of scientists during this time did not believe in this theory, this, of course, includes Louis Pasteur.
- He used a simple experiment to combat this belief. Using a “swan-neck” flask, he demonstrated how beef broth can be sterilized by preventing dust particles and other contaminants from reaching the broth.
- A “swan-neck” flask has a long bending neck that prevents contaminants from entering the body of the flask by trapping them in the neck.
- He also showed that if the “swan-neck” flask was tipped to allow contaminants to come in contact with the broth, microbial growth will occur. Same as if the neck of the flask is broken.
- These experiments disproved spontaneous generation. Moreover, this became the foundation of bacteriology. Pasteur’s observations and findings also lead to the antisepsis system of Lister, and now asepsis and sterilization.
- In 1862, Pasteur was elected to the Académie des Sciences and in 1863, he was appointed professor of geology, physics, and chemistry at the School of Fine Arts.
- He then placed his attention and efforts on saving the silk industry of France. In the middle of the 19th century, silkworm eggs could no longer be produced in France, and by 1865, the silkworm industry in France was almost ruined.
- Upon the request of his former professor, Dumas, Pasteur accepted the challenge. He took this opportunity to learn more about infectious diseases. In his five years of research, Louis Pasteur became an expert silkworm breeder and identified the cause of the disease.
- He developed a method to prevent the contamination of silkworm eggs by disease-causing organisms. Up to this day, this method is still in use in the silk industry.
- Through his research with silkworms, Pasteur came to realize that each silkworm reacts differently to the disease depending on factors such as physiological and environmental. This became useful to Pasteur when he studied animal and human diseases.
- In 1879, Pasteur made his first discovery in the field of vaccination. He observed that chickens injected with old cholera cultures did not get sick or did not die.
- To further strengthen his observations and hypothesis, Pasteur inoculated two chickens with a fresh virulent strain of cholera. One chicken was previously inoculated with the old or attenuated culture while the other was not.
- The chicken inoculated with the attenuated culture remained healthy while the other died. This principle was applied to many other diseases and resulted in the discovery of vaccines for anthrax and rabies.
- The success of his anthrax vaccine led him to focus on the microbial origin of diseases. His rabies vaccine was also met with great success. These events lead to the international fund-raising campaign to build the Pasteur Institute in Paris which was inaugurated on November 14, 1888.
LATER LIFE, DEATH, AND LEGACY
- Pasteur had an immense contribution to the field of science and medicine. He was given honors and awards throughout his lifetime.
- Despite this, he did not have enough time to explore all the practical aspects of his theories.
- One of these is the variability in virulence which is still relevant in the study of infectious diseases today.
- Pasteur’s 70th birthday was celebrated by several prominent scientists including Joseph Lister, the man behind the antisepsis system applied in surgeries.
- Over time Pasteur’s paralysis worsened, and on September 28, 1895, Louis Pasteur died.
- Aside from the Pasteur Institute founded in 1888, a lot of things including streets, schools, and universities were named after Pasteur.
- Up to this day, we benefit from Pasteur’s discoveries and theories, from pasteurization, and germ theory, to the understanding of vaccination and variability in virulence. Pasteur’s works are in our daily lives and will probably be of help to us until our very last breath.
Louis Pasteur Worksheets
This fantastic bundle includes everything you need to know about Louis Pasteur across 29 in-depth pages. These ready-to-use worksheets are perfect for teaching kids about Louis Pasteur, a scientist known for his significant contributions in microbiology.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- Louis Pasteur Fact File
- The Life of Pasteur
- Career in Grid
- Pasteur’s Contributions
- Biogenesis vs. Abiogenesis
- Scientific Aptitude
- The Scientific Method
- A Well of Disease
- Mr. Perseverance
- Get Vaccinated!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Louis Pasteur so important?
Louis Pasteur is often remembered as the founder of modern immunology due to his groundbreaking work in the late nineteenth century that catalyzed a greater understanding and appreciation for germ theory. In addition, he helped the optimistic hope that prophylactic vaccination could eliminate all infectious diseases through prophylactic immunization.
How did Pasteur prove germ theory?
In 1861, Pasteur did some studies on germs. He found out that germs could give people diseases. By 1865, Pasteur had more proof that his idea was right. In 1879, he figured out how to make a chicken not get cholera. He did this by making the virus weaker before injecting it into chickens.
How did Louis Pasteur discover vaccines?
In 1885, Pasteur conducted his first-ever human vaccine trial as he researched rabies. Pasteur weakened the virus in rabbits to create this vaccine and then collected it from their spinal cords.
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Link will appear as Louis Pasteur Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 14, 2023
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