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2022: The Bicentenary of Louis Pasteur's Birth

Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822. He was an international figure in scientific and medical research and the founder of the Institut Pasteur (Paris) in 1887.

Louis Pasteur was a precursor of a certain way of conducting research, deeply concerned with its goals, both humanistic and universal, and the need to train and transmit this approach and these values to future generations. Today, this "Pasteur spirit" still inspires scientists who work in the institute that bears his name (Institut Pasteur), as well as those in the wider Pasteur Network.

In 2022, the Institut Pasteur will celebrate the life and work of Louis Pasteur, the man and the scientist. By the end of the 19th century, with the creation of the Institut Pasteur on the horizon, his scientific work, but also his convictions in science, on how to conduct research as well as on its aims for society, laid the foundations for what would become a great scientific school of the 20th century.

Three dimensions characterize this school:

  • formatting rigorously the scientific approach, based on study, rigor, critical thinking, proof through experimentation, perseverance;

  • firm beliefs about the humanistic and universal place, role and purposes of science, in society and in the world, that is to say - at the risk of sounding utopian - dedicated to improving everyone’s health, everywhere in the world;

  • finally, the desire to transmit to future generations, not only scientific knowledge, through education and training, but also this way of "conducting research" with the concern to improve human health.

This "Pasteur spirit" is composed of these three ambitions, driven by scientific and humanistic convictions, whose missions could be summarized as follows:

  • understanding the living world;

  • improving health for all people;

  • passing on to future generations.

This legacy of Louis Pasteur is also partly that of his "lieutenants" - that is to say the first circle of scientists who founded with him the Institut Pasteur and who led its development between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century -. It has its origin in the discoveries made by a man who was a chemist by training, in fields as wide-ranging as biology, agriculture, medicine and hygiene, and culminating in the development of the rabies vaccine, in 1885. Louis Pasteur's discoveries revolutionized the scientific, medical and industrial communities and led to the creation of the Institut Pasteur in June 1887 and its inauguration on November 14, 1888, and then its rise.

Since then, several generations of scientists have made this heritage their own and have been able to maintain, bring to life and pass on the "Pasteurian spirit."


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