The Private Science of Louis Pasteur

Gerald L. Geison, Author Princeton University Press $75 (392p) ISBN 978-0-691-03442-3
Realities of the creative process, scientific method, research ethics, personalities and politics are confronted in this weighty reappraisal of Pasteur's pioneering work. Geison, professor of history at Princeton, provides an overview of Pasteur's career and subsequent legend in concert with extensive analyses of his seminal research regarding optical isomers, germ theory and vaccinations for anthrax and human rabies. Scrutinizing Pasteur's private papers and laboratory notebooks, available only in recent years, Geison finds discrepancies between the scientist's private records and public positions, some suggesting duplicity, and he considers the implications, revealing the range of Pasteur's ambition and extraordinary skills as a savvy publicist and innovative researcher. Although there are some new revelations, the book's most distinguishing features are extensive documentation and balanced consideration of different viewpoints. Ponderous in places, this work of historical scholarship touches on many human issues ever pertinent in scientific research. Illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-0-691-01552-1
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-0-691-60497-8
Hardcover - 418 pages - 978-0-691-63397-8
Open Ebook - 418 pages - 978-1-4008-6408-9
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