Dr. Alber Reflection

Last semester, I took a class on the history of vaccinations. We learned a lot about Pasteur’s experimental methods for developing the anthrax vaccine and the rabies vaccine. Dr. Alber discussed why Pasteur got into the field of microbiology, which was completely by accident. He just saw parallels from his field of chemistry in other realms of science and tried to make connections. I am really glad Dr. Alber brought this up because most of the time, it seems Pasteur just set out to disprove spontaneous generation and make vaccines. But he had motivations behind each thing he did. And each experiment grew out of previous ideas he had. He was very good at recognizing patterns and applying them to there places, for example, how he proved crystals were asymmetric, but only one form is found in nature. He then used this idea when he was trying to understand fermentation in wine and beer.

One thought on “Dr. Alber Reflection

  1. I missed the second half of the lecture, but I know that hearing Dr. Alber last year, I was also struck by the logical progression of his experiments from chemistry to medicine. I am glad that point came through again last night. It’s so hard to not fall into the trap of thinking about the iconic image of Pasteur as the germ theory hero and think more of him as a whole person, subject to the times he lived in and the progression of his life. I am curious to see what version we will get when we learn about him in Arbois. In the past, visiting the Pasteur Institute in Paris I was both amused and a bit disappointed because his life was simplified to a cartoonish detail. They would say things like Pasteur wanted to discover germs so he set about doing it…. Well it could have been simply the language barrier, but I think Dr. Alber presents a better historical perspective in her talk.

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