Early Life

Louis Pasteur is known around the world for being a French chemist, microbiologist and scientist. He was born December, 21, 1822 in a town called Dole in Eastern France, Pasteur lived with his mother, who was a peasant, and father, who worked as a tanner by trade. The men from Loius Pasteur's family have been in the tanning business since 1763. His mother was named Jeanne Roqui and his father's name was Jean-Joseph Pasteur. Both his parent found it important that the young Louis Pasteur knew the value of family, loyalty, respect for hard work and financial security. His father having not a wonderful education himself pushed his dreams and expectations onto his son; he wanted Louis Pasteur to become a teacher at a local lycée (highschool). Louis Pasteur had spent his early years living in a place called Arbois, he attended a local school there called École Primaire, though at that time he didn't take a liking to school much he preferred to play and go fishing instead. His headmaster at the school however thought he had potential and encouraged him to go study in Paris. So, at age fifteen, in the year 1838, Louis Pasteur set off for Paris with the hope that he could study for his entrance exams. Unfortunately, after a month, he got homesick and his father had to come to Paris to take him home. And so, he continued his studies at one of his local schools, Besancon, until he gave the Paris entrance exams again. This time however, Pasteur had succeeded in not getting homesick and in passing the entrance exams and he began his educational journey at the Ecole Normale Superieure, an elite college. Surprisingly, though he grew to be an exceptional chemist, at that time he was not viewed as advanced in any way in the subject of chemistry. As a young man, Louis Pasteur was artistically gifted; his surviving portraits showed so, but at the age of nineteen, he abandoned this artistic ambition to pursue his scientific career.

In August of 1840 he received his bachelor's degree in letters from the Collège Royal de Besançon and was appointed to tutor at the Collège. In 1842, at age twenty, he received his bachelor's degree in science. He then returned to Paris, and was admitted to the École Normale in the autumn of 1843. In the year of 1847, Pasteur was given his doctorate and he took up a job as an assistant of one of his teachers at the Ecole Normale Superieure. He then began a doctoral degree at the same institution. His task was to solve a difficult research problem of his own choosing. Pasteur decided to investigate the structure of tartrate and paratartrate crystals and explain the differences between them. This problem had baffled even the greatest chemists of that time. After a long period of time, even though he went about observing the crystals slowly he managed to find observations that other scientist overlooked. Then after Pasteur not only earned his higher degree he also became well known to other research scientists. After, he worked briefly at a professor of physics at the Dijon Lycée in 1848, he went to work as a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in 1849, where he met and courted Marie Laurent, who also happened to be the daughter of the University's rect. They were married on May 29, 1849, and together had five children, only two of whom survived to adulthood; the other three died of typhoid. These personal tragedies inspired Pasteur to try to find cures for diseases such as typhoid.

Death and Legacy

On September 28, 1895 Louis Pasteur died at the age of 72. His death was a result of a series of strokes that began in 1868. Marie Pasteur, his wife, died on the same date as her husband fifteen years later, at the age of 84. It is said he died while listening to the story of Saint Vincent de Paul, and compassionate priest that he admired.

In honor of his work and service to society Louis Pasteur was awarded the Leeuwenhoek medal, which was considered to be one of the most prestigious Dutch awards in microbiology. He was also a Grand Croix in the Legion of Honor, which was established by Napoleon Bonaparte and known as the highest decoration in all of France.

His life saving work affected people all over the world. The discoveries of Louis Pasteur prevented the death of many people and the spread of harmful diseases. In memory of Louis Pasteur and his contributions, many places have been named after him. There are several street names and localities in the United States, Canada, Argentina, United Kingdom, Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Ukraine, Italy, and Romania. In addition to the streets, a variety of institutions have been named after Louis Pasteur as well, such as Institut Pasteur and Université Louis Pasteur in France.

After his death Louis Pasteur was originally buried in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, but was moved to in an elaborate crypt in Institut Pasteur, and remains there today.