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Chapter 5 : A Crowded Life
In 1857 Pasteur was appointed assistant director in charge of scientific studies and of general administration at the school from which he graduated, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. In addition to organization of the curriculum, his administrative duties included the supervision of housing, board, medical care, and general discipline of the students, as well as the relations between the school and parents and other educational establishments. As shown by his reports, he did not take these new responsibilities lightly. He administered the problems of household management with as much thoroughness and vigor as he devoted to the reorganization of advanced studies. His title of director of scientific studies at the École Normale might give the impression that he had at his disposal large and well-equipped laboratories, with many assistants and generous budgets, but in fact he had limited facilities. During the early years after his return to Paris he worked alone and had to make many of his instruments. Pasteur's return to Paris marked the beginning of an era of incredible activity. His investigative work can conveniently be divided into two periods separated by the year 1877. The scientific activities of the period 1857-77 can be considered under several separate scientific headings, but it must be emphasized again that these headings are arbitrary and justified only by reasons of convenience in presentation.