Louis Pasteur Biography

Louis Pateur (27 December 1822 – 28 September 1895) – Manes-la-Coquette. French Scientist and Chemist, who discovered the process of pasteurization. He developed vaccines for cholera and rabies, as well as powerful antibiotics and sterilization processes.

Their studies on infectious diseases gave rise to the Scientific Medicine, demonstrating that the symptoms were hardly the visible effects caused by microorganisms, which had to be determined in order to be adequately treated, which is why it is considered the father of modern microbiology, as well as one of the most influential people in history for his valuable contributions to Chemistry, Natural Sciences and Medicine.

Family life

Pasteur was born on 27 December 1822 in the French town of Dule.  He was the firstborn of Jean-Joseph Pasteur, a sergeant major awarded the Legion d’Honneur, during the Napoleonic Wars, later dedicated to the profession of tanner.

From a very young age, he showed great talent for Painting, so in principle he was encouraged by his teachers to pursue studies in this area.  However, his father motivated him to pursue academic studies. In 1840, he obtained his Bachelor of Painting; in 1842 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1847 obtained his doctorate at the Higher Normal School of France, in Paris.

Between 1847 and 1853 he served as professor of chemistry at the Lyceum of Dijon and then at the University of Strasbourg, where he met Marie Laurent, daughter of the rector of that house of studies. They married on May 29, 1849 and had five children, of whom only two survived, the other three dying as a result of typhus.

Tartaric Acid Dimorphism

In 1848, he made his first great discovery. Until that time, tartaric acid seemed to exist in two ways, with the same chemical composition, but with different properties.

Pasteur managed to discover that they were actually two types of crystals equal in their composition, but with specular symmetry (such as our hands, equal but arranged differently) and whose atoms were associated in different ways, thus discovering the dimorphism of tartaric acid, which earned him the Legion of Honour award at the age of 26.


In 1854, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lille. Seven years later, in 1851, Pasteur became the Director of Scientific Studies at the Higher Normal School of France.

At that time, he worked with the germ theory, which was not discovered by him, but with which he conducted different experiments, which allowed him to prove that fermentation was a process involving two varieties of yeasts, one that produced alcohol and another that caused lactic acid, which caused the wine to avinograte.

After several attempts, on April 20, 1862, Pasteur managed to discover that by subjecting the wine to a temperature of 44 degrees Celsius for a short time and then cooling it, the microorganisms responsible for damaging it disappeared, ensuring its preservation.

He had invented pasteurization, a method of food preservation that is still used today, while the French wine industry had changed forever.

Every living thing comes from another

Another of his great contributions was to show that living organisms were involved in the decomposition and fermentation processes. Since the time of Aristotle the theory of Spontaneous Generation was believed and that germs grew spontaneously in decaying bodies, Pasteur subjected to the passage of time several growing broths, inside flasks without access to the environment, managing to show that after a few days nothing grew in them.

The germs came from spores that traveled in the air. Pasteur repealed the Spontaneous Generation, establishing the scientific principle that every living thing comes from another, forever changing Microbiology.

Silk industry

In 1865, he was called by the French government to discover the disease affecting silkworms, putting production at risk. After 6 years, he discovered that the worms were being affected by a couple of parasites and that isolating and replacing the infected individuals was ending the disease, thus saving the French silk industry.

At this time, Pasteur suffered a brain haemorrhage that paralyzed the left side of his body. However, as soon as he recovered, he published his findings, causing other countries to copy their techniques.

Vaccine production

His focus was on contagious diseases. He then postulated his conclusions on the intervention of microorganisms in the process of contagion and transmission of diseases from one human to another. His theories were not immediately accepted.

However, in 1865, surgeon Joseph Lister put his ideas into practice, establishing hygiene standards and asepsis within the operating room, achieving surprising results in reducing infections acquired during interventions.

In 1880, Pasteur discovered that bacteria could be weakened by natural processes, accelerating the vaccine manufacturing process. He then developed the vaccine against avian cholera, anthrax, and in 1885 successfully tested the rabies vaccine, when he saved the life of Josepd Meister, a child who had been bitten by a rabid dog.


In 1895, a new vascular brain accident ended his life on September 28. His remains were deposited in Notre-Dame Cathedral, and in 1896, they were moved to a crypt at the Pasteur Institute specially designed for him. His contribution to Medicine is considered invaluable, as his findings have helped save millions of lives around the world in recent centuries.

Image source: biography.com

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phoneia.com (July 28, 2019). Louis Pasteur Biography. Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/curiosities/louis-pasteur-biography/