Louis Pasteur

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Himself a physician, French immunologist Patrice Debre has a full appreciation of the enormous contributions Louis Pasteur made to both medicine and science. In this lively account of his life and work, originally published in France in 1994 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of Pasteur’s death the following year, this volume is perhaps the most complete biography to date of the famed scientist-physician. It is meticulously researched and presented in a lively and appealing style.

What emerges from the pages of this book is a balanced yet multifaceted portrait of a man who was at once brilliant, observant, and imaginative, if at times inalterably dogmatic and impatient in his personal relations. Beginning his professional life as a scientist whose research focused on silkworms and fermentation in vinegar and beet juice, Pasteur soon became interested in how microorganisms were related to disease in human beings. He became the acknowledged founder of the field of microbiology and the founder of the French research institute that bears his name and became the forefront of AIDS research.

Pasteur departed from the scientists of his day by insisting that scientific information must have practical applications. At his insistence, such information soon came to be applied to industry and to medicine, resulting almost immediately in the realization that hospitals that were not antiseptic could endanger the lives of patients more than the maladies for which they were originally hospitalized.

Well written and translated, LOUIS PASTEUR contains a useful index, an extensive bibliography, and an extensive chronological table.