Too often scientists build their theories upon wild speculation or unfounded assumptions. Many new ideas turn out to be dead-ends. They neither advance science nor improve daily life. Some people distrust the claims of science. Can science really change the world?
Yes, indeed. The scientific discoveries of Louis Pasteur, a Frenchman who lived in the 1800s, have made a difference. He chose scientific questions worthy of attack, those whose solution would benefit ordinary citizens. Pasteurization grew out of his dramatic discovery that tiny living things cause foods like milk to spoil. Gentle heating of the milk destroys the tiny life and keeps the food fresh.
He also proved that some microscopic living organisms are helpful to human beings, while others cause illness. His discovery that germs can cause disease is the foundation of modern medicine. It took a great deal of effort to prove the germ theory. Truth, not fleeting fame, motivated Louis Pasteur. He announced his results only after the most careful research in the laboratory and thorough tests in the field.
Some scientists resented it when Louis Pasteur showed the error in their favorite theories. Biologist violently opposed his proof that microscopic life could not spring into existence from nonliving elements. Veterinarians belittled his development of vaccines for chicken cholera and anthrax. Surgeons ignored his call for germ-free operating rooms to prevent infections during surgery. Doctors rejected the evidence that germs cause disease. These traditional-minded scientists launched personal attacks against Louis Pasteur. Louis Pasteur, however, didn't settle questions by arguments. He held dramatic public demonstrations so people could judge for themselves.
If you listed the top ten scientists of all time, you would include Louis Pasteur near the top of the list. Yet, this great man was very religious, a Christian. Many times, he stated his belief that spiritual and religious values go beyond scientific knowledge.
Read Louis Pasteur - Founder of Modern Medicine. It traces in exciting details the events in the life of Louis Pasteur. Learn about his early life as the son of an obscure country tanner. Experience his years of struggle as an unknown scientist. Enjoy his triumph as one of the world's most celebrated heroes.
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