(December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895)
Despite lacking a medical license, Louis Pasteur revolutionized medicine in a way that no one envisaged. The sterilization method he devised, known as pasteurization, saved uncountable lives by reducing infections in an era when antibiotics were unknown. It also helped to prolong the shelf-lives of perishable foods (such as milk and beverages). This same pasteurization, alongside John Tyndall’s tyndallization, debunked the age-long myths surrounding the Theory of Spontaneous Generation. Although his famous accomplishments were in the fields of microbiology and medicine, Louis Pasteur was actually a chemist, who held professorial chairs at both Strasbourg and Lille universities (in France). His works on Molecular Asymmetry helped to unveil the optical and crystallographic nature of various organic salts. His interest in exploring beyond the boundaries of chemistry brought occasional criticism from medics who were unnerved by his daring vaccination experiments. He conceded by working alongside qualified doctors, who oversaw that his procedures did not do more harm than good. Pasteur’s versatility is evident on how easily he navigated between physical and biological sciences. His revolutionary works on microbiology often overshadow his lofty contributions to chemistry. He was the first person to accurately explain the concepts of isomerism and molecular chirality. He also published several works, won many awards, and held a professorial chair in physics and geology at ENSBA, Paris.