Louis Pasteur was born in France in 1822, the son of a poor family. He was an intelligent child, and performed very well in school. As a young adult, he attended an elite college, the École Normal Supérieure, where he wrote a doctoral thesis on crystallography. After graduating in 1848, he obtained a position as the professor of physics at the Dijon Lycée, but soon left that position to become professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. In 1854 he was made the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences in Lille, and two years later given the position of administrator and director of scientific studies at his alma mater, the École Normal Supérieure.
Pasteur is widely considered to be one of the fathers of germ theory and bacteriology. He was not the first person to propose the theory- which states that microorganisms are responsible for many diseases- but he was the first to perform experiments that demonstrated this theory and which were able to convince most of Europe of the veracity of the theory. This work was also the death knell for the theory of spontaneous generation, which sought to explain how life could seemingly spring from non-living material. His germ theory lead to the heating and rapid cooling of liquids, especially milk, to prevent the growth of organisms, a process which came to be known as pasteurization. It also lead to the development by John Lister of antiseptic methods of surgery, via his belief that preventing the entry of microorganisms into humans was essential for preventing disease.
Immunology and vaccination
During experiments with chicken cholera, Pasteur accidentally infected several chickens with a weakened form of the bacteria. When he later attempted to infect these same chickens with a regular-strength form of the bacteria, he found that they were immune to the disease. He later had similar success in countering the effects of anthrax on cattle. The concept of a weakened form of the disease providing immunity to the disease was not new, but the fact that Pasteur's vaccinations were generated artificially was. This had a major impact on immunology research, and lead, in 1885, to Pasteur's use of the first rabies vaccine (created along with a friend, Emile Roux, using killed rabies cells obtained from rabbits) on a young boy. His vaccine was successful, and Pasteur was lauded as a hero, despite the fact that, as he was lacking a medical license, it was technically illegal for him to treat the boy.
Personal Life and Death
Pasteur married Marie Laurent in 1849. They had five children, only two of whom survived to adulthood; the other three succumbed to typhoid in childhood. Pasteur died in 1895 as a result of a series of strokes that he had been suffering since 1868. He was 72.
He was summoned from limbo by Kid Eternity, to save Earth from an alien invasion. He failed to save Earth, and was taken back to limbo.