It’s amazing to think of a time when people didn’t know about microbes. Today the awareness of microbes is not only an important part of routine healthcare, but is frequently at the front of our mind as we engage in habits to avoid getting sick. Louis Pasteur’s story was interesting for me because the resistance of the community and government officials to his ideas reminds me of modern-day resistance to evidence of climate change. Showing the existence of microbes and developing vaccines for them changed the world. I imagine the climate science community must feel similar frustrations as Pasteur did.
Regarding Pasteur’s motivations for his work, I think it would make sense that some of his motivation might come from the Franco-Prussian War. This idea helped me to humanize Pasteur in my mind, rather than thinking of him only in terms of his work. When I think in terms of the person, trying to understand their motivations, hardships, interests, etc., it helps me draw similarities between me and them, which I’ve found to be a source of encouragement.
As a side note, I like that Pasteur’s first major discovery was the asymmetry of crystals. I’m studying materials science, and crystallography is the foundation for the curriculum. Learning about characteristics of crystals and how these characteristics affect macroscopic properties of objects is really exciting for me.