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The Private Science of Louis Pasteur
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and TablesPrefaceCh. 1Laboratory Notebooks and the Private Science of Louis Pasteur3Ch. 2Pasteur in Brief22Ch. 3The Emergence of a Scientist: The Discovery of Optical Isomers in the Tartrates53Ch. 4From Crystals to Life: Optical Activity, Fermentation, and Life90Ch. 5Creating Life in Nineteenth-Century France: Science, Politics, and Religion in the Pasteur-Pouchet Debate over Spontaneous Generation110Ch. 6The Secret of Pouilly-le-Fort: Competition and Deception in the Race for the Anthrax Vaccine145Ch. 7From Boyhood Encounter to "Private Patients": Pasteur and Rabies before the Vaccine177Ch. 8Public Triumphs and Forgotten Critics: The Debate over Pasteur's Early Use of Rabies Vaccines in Human Cases206Ch. 9Private Doubts and Ethical Dilemmas: Pasteur, Roux, and the Early Human Trials of Pasteur's Rabies Vaccine234Ch. 10The Myth of Pasteur259Appendixes279Author's Note on the Notes and Sources305Notes to the Chapters309Acknowledgments343Bibliography345Index367

Reviews

Winner of the 1996 William H. Welch Medal, American Association for the History of Medicine One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1995 "Geison's controversial but stunning biography raises many important questions about the nature of science, past and present... [I]t requires us to reevaluate our heroes and consider the complexities of science as it is actually created instead of merely clinging to comforting and heroic myths."--Elizabeth Fee, New England Journal of Medicine "A fascinating and detailed account of much of Pasteur's life and of French science in the last century."--Lewis Wolpert, The New York Times Book Review "Geison makes Pasteur in many ways worthier of our admiration than the saintly figure of legend was."--The Economist "... a well-documented, evenhanded biography that will be useful for many years to come... a readable, enjoyable biography."--Booklist "In The Private Science of Louis Pasteur, Gerald L. Geison has explored 100 of Pasteur's laboratory notebooks ... which record 40 years of scientific activity and which were made available to researchers only about 20 years ago. Mr. Geison specifically disclaims any intention to deny Pasteur's greatness as a scientist, but to illuminate the scientific process, he sets out to expose some serious discrepancies between what Pasteur published and said in public and what is recorded in the notebooks... This book provides a fascinating and detailed account of much of Pasteur's life and of French science in the last century... What this life of Pasteur shows is how complex, hard and imaginative scientific discovery is, and that it requires a variety of skills rarely found in one person."--New York Times Book Review "In Geison's hands, Pasteur is shown to have been a consummate publicist and showman ... He was also single minded, secretive and rather selfish... He is, in short, the perfect anti-hero for our anti-heroic age."--W. F. Bynum, Nature "In revealing ... discrepancies between Pasteur's private activities and the accounts he subsequently published of those activities, Geison's aim is not to discredit Pasteur or his contributions to science. On the contrary, he gives full credit to Pasteur's brilliance as an experimenter. But he also makes clear the extent to which Pasteur's public reputation depended not just on his ability to manipulate his experimental materials in the laboratory, but also on his ability to control and manipulate the information that issued from his laboratory."--Steve Sturdy, Medical History "Geison has discovered that Pasteur's two most famous experiments were tainted by lies and scientific, if not moral, misconduct. The author's deconstruction of the Pasteur myth is not an attempt to discredit the man or his works but to present the unadorned truth. Well written and scholarly, with extensive notes and bibliography, this book is highly recommended."--Library Journal "Realities of the creative process, scientific method, research ethics, personalities and politics are confronted in this weighty reappraisal of Pasteur's pioneering work... this work of historical scholarship touches on many human issues ever pertinent in scientific research."--Publishers Weekly "[Geison's] deconstruction of the Pasteur myth is not an attempt to discredit the man or his works but to present the unadorned truth. Well written and scholarly, with extensive notes and bibliography, this book is highly recommended."--Library Journal "With magisterial scholarship, Geison presents incisive accounts of Pasteur's research ... the book is largely structured around instances of Pasteur's 'unsavory' behavior and Geison's explanations do little to soften the image of Pasteur as a ruthlessly ambitious and competitive operator."--Social History of Medicine "It is to Geison's considerable credit that, in telling this story and documenting Pasteur's human failings along the way, he recounts a record of insight, confidence and certainty on core essentials that still amounts to genius."--Bernard Dixon, New Scientist "A very good book ... adds extraordinary nuance to the biographical portrait of Pasteur."--Christopher Dornan, The Globe and Mail "A meticulous biography of one of the grandest figures in the history of science... Gerald Geison , the author of this splendid biography, ... makes Pasteur in many ways worthier of our admiration than the saintly figure of legend was."--The Economist "Gerald Geison has been studying Pasteur for more than two decades... [He] shows that there are intriguing discrepancies between Pasteur's private science and public utterances... In Geison's hands, Pasteur is shown to have been a consummate publicist and showman ... the perfect anti-hero for out anti-heroic age."--W. F. Bynum, Nature "The Pasteur who emerges from these pages is a creative, even brilliant, scientist but a distinctly unattractive human being... [Geison] provides a far more interesting and generally persuasive view of Pasteur's work than the earlier, more flattering accounts... Geison's controversial but stunning biography raises many important questions about the nature of science, past and present... It requires us to reevaluate our heroes and consider the complexities of science as it is actually created instead of merely clinging to comforting and heroic myths. Elegantly written, beautifully produced, and very reasonably priced."--Elizabeth Fee, Ph.D., The New England Journal of Medicine "This marvelous and fascinating scientific biography is indispensable in understanding Pasteur's life and research."--Choice "This book provides a fascinating and detailed account of much of Pasteur's life and of French science in the last century... What this life of Pasteur shows is how complex, hard and imaginative scientific discovery is, and that it requires a variety of skills rarely found in one person."--New York Times Book Review

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