The greatest Frenchmen of all time ? I would vote for Clovis, Jean de la Valette, Lavoisier, Cabot and Champlain; and perhaps the greatest of them all, the Catholic, humble, scientific, inquiring and courageous Louis Pasteur. He is simply the greatest biologist in history, and one of the greatest chemists. Unlike today's 'science', Pasteur proved his ideas with confirmed scientific method and integrity including such epiphanies as: biogenesis; pasteurization; germ theory and inoculation. He was not a character cripple or an immoral grant seeker. Pasteur was big-hearted, just and moral. He did not 'invent' in order to be published, or influence public policy; or engage in fear-mongering like today's 'scientists'. He did it because he was a genius who could help humankind.
Pasteur's genius included inter-alia:
-While studying crystals under polarized light, he found that certain molecules come in left– and right-handed forms that are mirror-images of each other, a phenomenon now known as chirality.
-Even more remarkable, he found that living things use entirely one hand. Most natural substances are composed of fifty-fifty “racemic” mixtures of both hands, the “stereoisomers” of a given chiral molecule, but for some reason living things were 100% pure of one hand.
-Pasteur recognized this as a defining characteristic of life, and it remains a mystery to this day. The problem is compounded by the discovery that RNA and DNA contain sugar molecules that are 100% right–handed.
-In Pasteur’s day, a majority still believed that micro-organisms came from nonliving matter; for one thing, they seemed to proliferate rapidly even in distilled liquid; for another, there were so many varieties, they seemed almost chaotic and impossible to classify. Micro-organisms also seemed very simple.
-His opponents already knew that a sealed jar of nutrient broth would not generate life. They surmised that air contained a vital ingredient. Pasteur believed that microbes in dust, not the air itself, produced the swarms of living things.
-Pasteur put a nutrient broth into a flask, then heated and shaped the neck into a horizontal S-curve open to the air. Dust containing the microbes became trapped in the curve and could not enter the broth, but the air could pass freely in and out. Pasteur demonstrated to his critics and skeptics that under these circumstances, the broth remained sterile, while flasks without the swan neck swarmed with microorganisms.
-In fact 154 years later, the S flasks still stand open and sterile.
-Pasteur took 50 sheep and inoculated 25 of them with weakened anthrax bacilli. Then, in a good controlled experiment, he exposed all 50 to the full virulent form. All the inoculated sheep survived; every one not inoculated died.
-Rabies is a viral infection. The virus was too small to be seen by microscopes in Pasteur’s time. This lack of evidence threatened his germ theory, but Pasteur was convinced an unseen microbial agent caused the disease, and proceeded to follow his procedure of finding ways to weaken it. Eventually was successful inoculating dogs with a series of increasingly potent rabies shots that appeared to provide immunity.
-Patients, bitten by rabid animals, flocked to his lab, for the first time having hope to be spared an agonizing, painful, certain death.
-Through experiments with yeast in wine, Pasteur found that by heating the wine to a certain temperature after fermentation but before spoiling bacteria invaded, the wine could be preserved much longer without loss of taste.
-This discovery was soon applied to milk, orange juice, and many other goods, and revolutionized food processing. Now, drinks could be carried on board ships without spoilage.
From this discovery alone, Pasteur could have become incredibly rich, but he never took advantage of his contributions, believing that science must work to the benefit of man. A quite different view than today, where science must rule man, even if the 'science' is nothing but a cesspool of deceit and lies.
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