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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Louis Pasteur and the unknown


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Paul Nadar


Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French biologist best known for his contributions to vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. Wikipedia says,


"[Pasteur] is best known to the general public for his invention of the technique of treating milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination, a process now called pasteurization... Pasteur is also regarded as one of the fathers of germ theory of diseases..." (Wikipedia: Louis Pasteur, 8.18.21 UTC 06:06)


Chemist John McMurray said,


"Pasteur was far ahead of his time. Although the structural theory of Kekule had not yet been proposed, Pasteur explained his results by speaking of the molecules themselves, 'There is no doubt that [in the dextro tartaric acid] there exists an asymmetric arrangement having a nonsuperimposable image." (Organic Chemisty 8th edition, 2012)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Pasteur.




"Live in the serene peace of laboratories and libraries. Say to yourselves first: 'What have I done for my instruction?' and, as you gradually advance, 'What have I done for my country?' until the tie comes when you may have the immense happiness of thinking that you have contributed in some way to the progress and to the good of humanity." (Quoted in The Life of Pasteur Volume II, 1911)


"I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being." (Quoted in Crystals and Life by Celerino Abad Zapatero)


"Science brings men nearer to God." (Quoted in Letter to an Atheist by Michael Patrick Leahy)


"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity." (Quoted in There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer)


Mysteries of the universe


"I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner." (Quoted in The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John Barry)


"The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things. They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language - the word 'enthusiasm' - en theos - a god within." (Discours de reception de Louis Pasteur, 1882)


"The human spirit, driven by an invincible force ,will never cease to ask: What is beyond? Does he want to stop either in time or in space? ... There is nothing to answer: there are spaces, times or magnitudes without limits. No one understands these words." (Discours de reception de Louis Pasteur, 1882)


Inspiration and humanity


"The greatness of human actions is measured by the inspiration that it brings. Blessed is he who carries within himself a God, an ideal of beauty and obeys it: an ideal of art, ideal of science, ideal of country, ideal virtues of the Gospel! These are the wellsprings of great thoughts and great actions. All reflections illuminate infinity." (Discours de reception de Louis Pasteur, 1882)


"I am utterly convince that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity." (Quoted in Louis Pasteur Free Lance of Science by Rene Jules Dubos)