Revised: July 19, 2016

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“Chance favors only the prepared mind.”
- LOUIS PASTEUR                                                             
Louis Pasteur
Chemist, 1822 - 1895

Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dole, in the region of Jura, France. His discovery that most infectious diseases are caused by germs, known as the "germ theory of disease," is one of the most important in medical history. His work became the foundation for the science of microbiology, and a cornerstone of modern medicine.

Pasteur's phenomenal contributions to microbiology and medicine can be summarized as follows: First, he championed changes in hospital practices to minimize the spread of disease by microbes. Second, he discovered that weakened forms of a microbe could be used as an immunization against more virulent forms of the microbe. Third, Pasteur found that rabies was transmitted by agents so small they could not be seen under a microscope, thus revealing the world of viruses. As a result he developed techniques to vaccinate dogs against rabies, and to treat humans bitten by rabid dogs. And fourth, Pasteur developed "pasteurization," a process by which harmful microbes in perishable food products are destroyed using heat, without destroying the food.

Pasteur was a thorough, highly intuitive researcher who always considered the wider ramifications to his work. While he revered science, Pasteur always believed that there were spiritual values that transcend it. Pasteur was also a capable public speaker, often defending his positions on various controversies with eloquence.

If you are aware of books, movies, databases, web sites or other information sources about Louis Pasteur or related subjects, or if you would like to comment, please contact us.

Resource Menu
Books By/About Louis Pasteur

Germ Theory Germ Theory and Its Applications to Medicine & On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery
by Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister

Purchase this hardcover edition of Germ Theory

Pasteur and Modern Science Pasteur and Modern Science
by Rene J. Dubos, Thomas D. Brock

An ideal introduction to the life of Louis Pasteur. Originally published in 1960. This pocket-sized reprint includes new illustrations and a new chapter.

Purchase this paperback edition of Pasteur and Modern Science

The Private Science of Louis Pasteur The Private Science of Louis Pasteur
by Gerald L. Geison

Geison's controversial but stunning biography raises many important questions about the nature of science, past and present. Representing some of the newer interpretive trends in the history of science and medicine, it requires us to reevaluate our heroes and consider the complexities of science as it is actually created instead of merely clinging to comforting and heroic myths. - Elizabeth Fee, New England Journal of Medicine

Purchase this hardcover edition of The Private Science of Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur Louis Pasteur
by Patrice Debre, Elborg Forster (Translator)

Originally published in France to commemorate the centennial of Pasteur's death and now translated in English, this excellent biography traces Pasteur's career and illuminates his many achievements. The author makes clear how "The Pasteurian revolution" is the link between theory and practice, and how medicine can no longer do without science and hospitals must no longer be mere hospices.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur: Young Scientist Louis Pasteur: Young Scientist
by Francene Sabin, Susan Elizabeth Swan (Photographer)

Traces the childhood and young adult years of the renowned French microbiologist whose interest in chemistry resulted in the process called pasteurization. Reading level 4 - 8 years.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Louis Pasteur: Young Scientist

DVDs About Louis Pasteur

Story of Louis Pasteur Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)
Four Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture. Awarded Three Academy Awards including Best Actor for Paul Muni, Best Original Story, Best Screenplay.

Purchase this DVD edition of Story of Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur Online Videos

Louis Pasteur Mini Biography — from BIO

History of Pasteurization — from The History Channel

Louis Pasteur's Revolutionary Vaccines

The Father of Germ Theory — Louis Pasteur Documentary

Related Websites

Louis Pasteur Biography at the Pasteur Institute, Paris

Pasteur at BBC

Profile of Pasteur at the Chemical Heritage Foundation

Timeline fo Louis Pasteur at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Louis Pasteur at Founders of Science dot net

Devoted to Louis Pasteur and his genealogy

Louis Pasteur

Related Figures in the Lucidcafé Library

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