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Louis Pasteur and His Great Achievements in Chemistry

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Born in Dole, France, on the 28th day of September 1822, Louis Pasteur would become a chemist who helps to develop methods of sterilizing and safe-proofing many of the things we take for granted today. Before he was a renown chemist, he went through high-school as an average pupil, his grades where nothing to write home about. It was his scholarly attitude and his teacher’s recommendation and encouragement that helped him persevere his way into a doctorate’s degree. Once he was accepted, he attended Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. It was at that college that he earned his doctorate’s degree in 1847. After he earned his doctorate, he went on to another college to become their head of chemistry and took on the task of studying fermentation and how it works. He began his research in 1854. He was appointed dean of new faculty of sciences at the University of Lillie (as per the education and early life section of his wiki page.) He married a woman by the name of Marie Laurent, which resulted in five children, three of which died to typhoid, the other two made it to maturity. He jumped around Universities rather often and was a tough administrator for the schools he worked at. After his stint at Lillie, he went back to Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) as their new Director of Scientific Studies. He was strict enough to cause a “bean revolt” and he enacted a measure that would expel any student who smoked at the school, which led to almost all of the students of the school leaving. After all of this, he instated and founded a laboratory at ENS and strayed loyal to the school even when enticing offers came about. It was after the dust settled that he really got to work figuring out some of life’s great problems.

One of his greatest achievements (besides pasteurization) was his reassessment of the “miasma theory” a theory that sates that all germs came from bad air, that spontaneously expelled newly created germs that would lead to diseases. Louis changed the previously held thought by demonstrating that bacterium would not grow in a sterilized container but, would grow in a similar container which had not been sterilized. All that was left for scientists to figure out was just exactly how to stop diseases and bacteria from infecting our bodies, and this led Louis to rethink many of our daily practices simple things like washing hands, bathing, (something the French desperately needed to be told) disinfecting, all common things now, but unthought of back in the 19th century. All of this sparked his investment of time into finding the best way to disinfect foods, knowing that if we could make them safe prior to ingesting them, that we could have a more enjoyable experience while eating food. It was this that made him think of pasteurization, a process of warming a liquid (mainly cow’s milk) in order to kill off all the bacteria that lay dormant in the milk and make it entirely safe to drink for all. This process alone helped effectively eliminate nearly 25% of all foodborne illnesses. This wasn’t the end of his quest, although he is most famous for this discovery. His next big project was to normalize and standardize vaccinations, something that is as important to the modern day as the internet. He knew of vaccines thanks to the works of a man named Edward Jenner, who had infected patients with a weakened strain of the smallpox virus, enabling their body to handle the stress and create immunities on behalf of the full-strength virus. He helped find and implement vaccines for rabies as well as anthrax, a disease that truly hurt the cow populations and was able to spread to humans if they encountered an animal that was also infected with the disease.

All his new and improved practices helped redefine the world that we live in, he was one of the greatest chemists of all time and used his knowledge to help benefit the world. His contributions to science take on a pivotal role in history. His anthrax vaccine helped cattle farm keep their livelihood alive. The vaccine was especially important because the anthrax bacterium can lay viable in topsoil for a few years, meaning that each year’s yield could get infected given poor scenarios. His contributions ultimately led to the eradication of many household diseases and illnesses. At the ripe age of 46 he had a stroke that paralyzed the left half of his body, nevertheless he kept working and eventually regained his form. Pasteurization is a process of heating a liquid to a warm temperature that stays below 212 Fahrenheit/100 Celsius/373 Kelvin. This kills bacteria that could’ve proliferated inside the milk and become potentially dangerous diseases such as scarlet fever or tuberculosis it also disables bacteria like salmonella or E.Coli. It is because of his processes that the sale of any milk or milk product in the U.S, that passes state lines, must be pasteurized before sale or it is an illegal offence. Louis was an arrogant man who often did not like to credit some of the people whose discoveries led to his furthered research in the field. One example being Edward Jenner, whose work inspired Louis to work on new methods of vaccination.

Louis Pasteur’s work was almost never challenged, as the proof for its effectiveness was almost always immediate, he was a well-respected man who had a high level of charisma and enough brains to support his large ego. It is him that we have to thank for our long and fulfilling lifespans. He made it possible to keep fresher longer, and safer longer as well. A world without cheese and milk that are safe to drink is a world that many people would not desire to live in. He inadvertently led a revolution in sanitization and helped the world figure out that it smelled really bad. Telling people that taking baths regularly and giving them the incentive that, if the bathe, they won’t die as soon as they would’ve if they didn’t really help the world discover some of its weaknesses. It also created a huge industry that continued his research into chemistry to help the masses, corporations that manufacture soap and disinfecting sprays, detergents, even Windex, would’ve never existed if he hadn’t put his foot down and said” wash your self, its better for everyone.” Without Dr. Pasteur, the world that we know would be a completely different place, a dirty, stinky, nasty, disease ridden place without proper medicinal care for the population. The man who figured out how to denature pathogens and make them less active or completely inactive is Dr. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who devoted his life to discovering new ways to help the world population. His research inspired Robert Koch, a German scientist who was able to diagnose and isolate tuberculosis and prevent it from spreading. Pasteur would finally kick the bucket, only after suffering a second stroke in 1894, which would lead to his death the following year. He was honored nationally by France and was given a funeral in the (not burned down) Notre Dame Cathedral. He was laid to rest beneath his institute, a world-recognized laboratory that even today, bear his name in his honor. 

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