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Louis Pasteur - Scientist or Plagiarist, Part 2
By Mary Lynn Bushong
1 Pasteur worked on finding an answer to the problem with silkworms. He was still unable to pinpoint the problem two years later. Before Pasteur even came on the scene, Bechamp had discovered the cause of the problem and an inexpensive solution. That did not stop Pasteur from appropriating those discoveries and promoting the ideas as his own. His solution was different, however, and when implemented, silkworm production dropped from 15 million kg annually to 2 million kg annually. Though silk worm farmers lost money, he and the manufacturers of his solution did not.
2 While continuing his research and experiments, Pasteur also continued his administrative work as the Director of Scientific Studies. He gave up that job in 1867, and a laboratory for physiological chemistry was made for him at the school. Then he suffered a stroke in 1868 which left him partially paralyzed. He was elected to be a member of the French Academy of Medicine in 1873 and was given a government grant in 1874. This assured him of a yearly income for the rest of his life.
3 After his self-proclaimed success with the silkworm industry, Pasteur moved on to studies in microbiology. He is said to have been the discoverer of "germ theory." This is another example of his self-promotion. In 1546, an Italian doctor, Geronimo Fracastorio, published a paper on the nature of disease, describing the action of germs. Dutch naturalist Antonio van Leenwenhoek identified bacteria under a microscope and wrote about it in 1683. Dr. M.A.Plenciz from Vienna wrote a paper about germ theory and disease in 1762. All of those examples pre-dated Pasteur's discovery by a significant period of time.
4 Deaths from infection were rampant in hospitals. Pasteur concluded that disease and infection were caused by germs. If surgeons were careful to observe certain standards of cleanliness, he was sure their patients would be much better off.
5 In publishing one paper describing the use of carbolic acid to avoid infection, he neglected to give amounts necessary for success. Dr. Lister from Britain used Pasteur's paper and saw great success in the operating room, only to find his patients dying afterward from overuse of the carbolic acid. It took Lister some time and many dead patients before he finally got the amounts right.
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