The Question of Spontaneous Generation
Written by René Vallery-Radot   

From Louis Pasteur: His Life and Labours by René Vallery-Radot, 1885


'All dry bodies,' said Aristotle, 'which become damp, and all damp bodies which are dried, engender animal life.' Bees, according to Virgil, are produced from the corrupted entrails of a young bull. At the time of Louis XIV, we were hardly more advanced. A celebrated alchemist doctor, Van Helmont, wrote: 'The smells which rise from the bottom of morasses produce frogs, slugs, leeches, grasses, and other things.' But most extraordinary of all was the true recipe given by Van Helmont for producing a pot of mice. It suffices to press a dirty shirt into the orifice of a vessel containing a little corn. After about twenty-one days, the ferment proceeding from the dirty shirt modified by the odour of the corn effects the transmutation of the wheat into mice. Van Helmont, who asserted that he had witnessed the fact, added with assurance:

Pasteur and Lister Revolutionize Medicine
Written by Brendon Barnett   
Sunday, 12 August 2012 15:53

Joseph ListerJoseph Lister was a British surgeon that pioneered the idea of sterile surgery, based on the discoveries of Louis Pasteur and his investigation of microbes as described in the germ theory. The idea that microbes played a key role in causing infection, or "putrefaction" as Pasteur referred to it, was still not widely accepted in the medical world and the fact that Lister openly received the ideas of Pasteur and implemented them in his medical practices caused many grievances amongst the British medical community. In 1874, Lister contacted Pasteur and the two began direct correspondence with each other during the following period.

Organic Chemistry and the Idea of the Molecule
Written by Henry Smith Williams   
Monday, 23 January 2012 09:20


Originally published in Modern Development of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Vol. 4 in 1904.

When Berzelius first promulgated his binary theory he was careful to restrict its unmodified application to the compounds of the inorganic world. At that time, and for a long time thereafter, it was supposed that substances of organic nature had some properties that kept them aloof from the domain of inorganic chemistry. It was little doubted that a so-called "vital force" operated here, replacing or modifying the action of ordinary "chemical affinity." It was, indeed, admitted that organic compounds are composed of familiar elements -- chiefly carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen; but these elements were supposed to be united in ways that could not be imitated in the domain of the non-living. It was regarded almost as an axiom of chemistry that no organic compound whatever could be put together from its elements--synthesized--in the laboratory. To effect the synthesis of even the simplest organic compound, it was thought that the "vital force" must be in operation.

Therefore a veritable sensation was created in the chemical world when, in the year 1828, it was announced that the young German chemist, Friedrich Wöhler, formerly pupil of Berzelius, and already known as a coming master, had actually synthesized the wellknown organic product urea in his laboratory at Sacrow. The "exception which proves the rule" is something never heard of in the domain of logical science. Natural law knows no exceptions. So the synthesis of a single organic compound sufficed at a blow to break down the chemical barrier which the imagination of the fathers of the science had erected between animate and inanimate nature. Thenceforth the philosophical chemist would regard the plant and animal organisms as chemical laboratories in which conditions are peculiarly favorable for building up complex compounds of a few familiar elements, under the operation of universal chemical laws. The chimera "vital force" could no longer gain recognition in the domain of chemistry.

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News on Pasteur

Treat the crime epidemic like the disease it is

It was not until the late 19th century that the pioneering work of the likes of Louis Pasteur, and the development and improvement of microscopes, led to the discovery that disease is caused by microbes too small to be detected with the naked human eyes.

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Cal Lord: Bill Nye should rethink creationism stance

“There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”

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At Harlem Hospital, Murals Get a New Life

Mr. Alston also included the microbiologist Louis Pasteur and a surgeon modeled after Louis T. Wright, the first African-American physician appointed to the hospital and a friend of the artist.

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Challenge has changed the world of bread

..innovations in bread-making are rare. In fact, nothing much has changed in the 6,000-year-old process since Louis Pasteur made the commercial production of yeast possible in 1859.

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The 20 best inventions in food history

Frenchman Louis Pasteur’s name will live on as long as there is milk or beer. Drinking milk used to be like Russian roulette, you never knew when you get some random disease and die. Pasteur’s process of heating up and immediately cooling liquids made the world a safer (and tastier) place.

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Pasteur Biography

louis_pasteur_delivering_first_rabies_inoculation_on_joseph_meister_20090420_1148554081Louis Pasteur was a microbiologist and chemist from Dole, France. Learn more about his childhood, history at the university and his ground-breaking work that led to the development of modern medicine. We owe the creation of vaccinations, pasteurization and many more applications of science to Louis Pasteur.

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