French biologist, microbiologist and chemist Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822, in Dole, Jura, France, to a Catholic family of a poor tanner. He was the third child of Jean-Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne-Etiennette Roqui. The family moved to Marnoz in 1826 and then to Arbois in 1827. Pasteur entered primary school in 1831 and was an average student in his early years, and not particularly academic, as his interests were fishing and sketching. He drew many pastels and portraits of his parents, friends and neighbors. Pasteur attended secondary school at the Collège d’Arbois. In October 1838, he left for Paris to join the Pension Barbet, but became homesick and returned in November.
In 1839, he entered the Collège Royal at Besançon to study philosophy and earned his Bachelor of Letters degree in 1840. He was appointed a tutor at the Besançon college while continuing a degree science course with special mathematics. He managed to pass the baccalauréat scientifique (general science) degree in 1842 from Dijon but with a mediocre grade in chemistry. In 1842, Pasteur took the entrance test for the École Normale Supérieur. He also attended classes at the Lycée Saint-Louis and lectures of Jean-Baptiste Dumas at the Sorbonne. In 1843, he passed his exam and entered the École Normale Supérieure and In 1845 he received the licencié ès sciences (Master of Science) degree.
In 1846, he was appointed professor of physics at the Collège de Tournon (now called Lycée Gabriel-Faure) in Ardèche, but the chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard wanted him back at the École Normale Supérieure as a graduate laboratory assistant (agrégé préparateur). He joined Balard and simultaneously started his research in crystallography and in 1847, he submitted two theses, in chemistry and physics He became professor of physics at the Dijon Lycée in 1848 and professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, and in May 29, 1849 he married Marie Laurent, daughter of the university’s rector.
He made a number of remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases, He reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax. He disproved the doctrine of spontaneous generation and investigated tartaric acid and optical isomers. He made significant discoveries in chemistry, most notably on the molecular basis for the asymmetry of certain crystals and racemization . He also invented a technique for treating milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination, a process now called pasteurization And discovered a fundamental principle in the structure of organic compounds. He also performed experiments that showed that without contamination, microorganisms could not develop and demonstrated that in sterilized and sealed flasks nothing ever developed, however in sterilized but open flasks microorganisms could grow.
Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in 1848, and became the chair of chemistry in 1852 and In 1854, he was named dean of the new faculty of sciences at University of Lille, where he began his studies on fermentation. In 1857, he moved to Paris as the director of scientific studies at the École Normale Supérieure where he took control from 1858 to 1867 and In 1863, he was appointed professor of geology, physics, and chemistry at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts Until resigning in 1867 whereupon he became the chair of organic chemistry at the Sorbonne. In 1867, the École Normale’s laboratory of physiological chemistry was created at Pasteur’s request, and he was the laboratory’s director from 1867 to 1888. Sadly In 1868, Pasteur suffered a severe brain stroke that paralysed the left side of his body, luckily though he recovered.
Pasteur conducted many fermentation experiments, And demonstrated that the skin of grapes was the natural source of yeasts, and that sterilized grapes and grape juice never fermented. Pasteur also produced the first vaccine for rabies by growing the virus in rabbits, and then weakening it by drying the affected nerve tissue.The rabies vaccine was initially created by Emile Roux, a French doctor and a colleague of Pasteur, who had produced a killed vaccine using this method.
Pasteur publicly claimed his success in developing the anthrax vaccine in 1881. However, fellow scientist and admirer Jean Joseph Henri Toussaint was the one who developed the first vaccine. Toussaint isolated the bacteria that caused chicken cholera (later named Pasteurella in honour of Pasteur) in 1879 and gave samples to Pasteur who used them for his own works. On July 12, 1880, Toussaint presented his successful result to the French Academy of Sciences, using an attenuated vaccine against anthrax in dogs and sheep. Pasteur on grounds of jealousy contested the discovery by publicly displaying his vaccination method at Pouilly-le-Fort on May 5, 1881. Pasteur gave a misleading account of the preparation of the anthrax vaccine used in the experiment at Pouilly-le-Fort. He used potassium dichromate to prepare the vaccine. The promotional experiment was a success and helped Pasteur sell his products, getting the benefits and glory
Pasteur was a French national hero at age 55, in 1878 Pasteur discreetly told his family never to reveal his laboratory notebooks to anyone. His family obeyed, and all his documents were held and inherited in secrecy. In 1882, Pasteur sent his assistant Louis Thuillier to southern France because of an epizootic of swine erysipelas. Thuillier identified the bacillus that caused the disease in March 1883. Pasteur and Thuillier increased the bacillus’s virulence after passing it through pigeons. Then they passed the bacillus through rabbits, weakening it and obtaining a vaccine.
After developing the rabies vaccine, Pasteur proposed an institute for the vaccine. So In 1887, fundraising for the Pasteur Institute began, with donations from many countries. The official statute was registered in 1887, stating that the institute’s purposes were “the treatment of rabies according to the method developed by M. Pasteur” and “the study of virulent and contagious diseases”. The institute was inaugurated on November 14, 1888. He brought together scientists with various specialties. The first five departments were directed by two graduates of the École Normale Supérieure: Émile Duclaux (general microbiology research) and Charles Chamberland (microbe research concerning hygiene), as well as a biologist, Élie Metchnikoff (morphological microbe research) and two physicians, Jacques-Joseph Grancher (rabies) and Émile Roux (technical microbe research). One year after the inauguration of the institute, Roux set up the first course of microbiology ever taught in the world, then entitled Cours de Microbie Technique (Course of microbe research techniques). Since 1891 the Pasteur Institute had been extended to different countries, and currently there are 32 institutes in 29 countries in various parts of the world.
Unfortunately Louis Pasteur had A stroke or uremia in 1894 which severely impaired his health and from which was unable to fully recover and he tragically died on September 28, 1895, near Paris. Following his death He was given a state funeral and was buried in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, but his remains were reinterred in the Pasteur Institute in Paris, in a vault covered in depictions of his accomplishments in Byzantine mosaicsDuring his life Louis Pasteur received many awards for his pioneering work. In 1853 he was given 1,500 francs by the Pharmaceutical Society for the synthesis of racemic acid. In 1856 the Royal Society of London presented him the Rumford Medal for his discovery of the nature of racemic acid and its relations to polarized light, and the Copley Medal in 1874 for his work on fermentation. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1869. The French Academy of Sciences awarded Pasteur the 1859 Montyon Prize for experimental physiology in 1860, and the Jecker Prize in 1861 and the Alhumbert Prize in 1862 for his experimental refutation of spontaneous generation.
In 1862 he gained membership to the mineralogy section of the French Academy of Sciences, He was elected to permanent secretary of the physical science section of the academy in 1887 and held the position until 1889. In 1873 Pasteur was elected to the Académie Nationale de Médecine and was made the commander in the Brazilian Order of the Rose. In 1881 he was elected to a seat at the Académie française left vacant by Émile Littré. Pasteur received the Albert Medal from the Royal Society of Arts in 1882. In 1883 he became a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. On June 8, 1886, the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II awarded Pasteur with the Order of the Medjidie (I Class) and 10000 Ottoman liras. Pasteur also won the Leeuwenhoek Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences for his contributions to microbiology in 1895 and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1853, promoted to Officer in 1863, to Commander in 1868, to Grand Officer in 1878 and made a Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1881.