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Chapter 1 : From Schoolboy to Scientist
In this chapter, the author discusses about the life history of Louis Pasteur, from a schoolboy to a scientist. The author emphasizes the relevance of Pasteur's work to certain aspects of modern science and social technology, and tries to extrapolate his influence into the future. The author mentions some apparently unrelated facts to bring out three points. The first is that Pasteur was born in very exciting times—fully as exciting as our own, both politically and scientifically. The second is that the most important events of the period were not those that attracted public attention. Third, it is not without interest to reflect on the fact that Michael Faraday, who occupies in the physical sciences much the same place that Pasteur occupies in biochemistry, biology, and medicine, also was born in very humble circumstances. Both Pasteur and Faraday had opportunities on many occasions to capitalize on their fame and to acquire wealth from the practical applications of their discoveries, but both resisted the temptation for the sake of higher values. Of Pasteur’s school years, the author considers a few aspects, selected because they reveal traits of character that contributed later to his effectiveness as a scientist.