Frases de Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur Foto
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Louis Pasteur

Fecha de nacimiento: 27. Diciembre 1822
Fecha de muerte: 28. Septiembre 1895

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Louis Pasteur fue un químico y bacteriólogo francés cuyos descubrimientos tuvieron enorme importancia en diversos campos de las ciencias naturales, sobre todo en la química y microbiología. A él se debe la técnica conocida como pasteurización. A través de experimentos refutó definitivamente la teoría de la generación espontánea y desarrolló la teoría germinal de las enfermedades infecciosas. Por sus trabajos es considerado el pionero de la microbiología moderna, iniciando la llamada «Edad de Oro de la Microbiología».

Aunque la teoría microbiana fue muy controvertida en sus inicios, hoy en día es fundamental en la medicina moderna y la microbiología clínica, condujo a innovaciones tan importantes como el desarrollo de vacunas, los antibióticos, la esterilización y la higiene como métodos efectivos de cura y prevención contra la propagación de las enfermedades infecciosas. Esta idea representa el inicio de la medicina científica, al demostrar que la enfermedad es el efecto visible de una causa que puede ser buscada y eliminada mediante un tratamiento específico. En el caso de las enfermedades infecciosas, se debe buscar el germen causante de cada enfermedad para hallar un modo de combatirlo.

Su primera contribución importante a la ciencia fue en química orgánica, con el descubrimiento del dimorfismo del ácido tartárico, al observar al microscopio que el ácido racémico presentaba dos tipos de cristal, con simetría especular, contradiciendo los descubrimientos del entonces químico de primera categoría Mitscherlin. Este descubrimiento lo realizó cuando contaba con poco más de 20 años de edad. Fue por tanto el descubridor de las formas dextrógiras y levógiras que desviaban el plano de polarización de la luz con el mismo ángulo pero en sentido contrario.

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Frases Louis Pasteur

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„The idea of God is a form of the idea of the Infinite. As long as the mystery of the infinite weighs on human thought, temples will be erected for the worship of the Infinite, whether God is called Brahma, Allah, Jehovah, or Jesus; and on the pavement of these temples, men will be seen kneeling, prostrated, annihilated by the thought of the Infinite.“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: He who proclaims the existence of the Infinite, and none can avoid it — accumulates in that affirmation more of the supernatural than is to be found in all the miracles of all the religions; for the notion of the Infinite presents that double character that forces itself upon us and yet is incomprehensible. When this notion seizes upon our understanding we can but kneel... I see everywhere the inevitable expression of the Infinite in the world; through it the supernatural is at the bottom of every heart. The idea of God is a form of the idea of the Infinite. As long as the mystery of the infinite weighs on human thought, temples will be erected for the worship of the Infinite, whether God is called Brahma, Allah, Jehovah, or Jesus; and on the pavement of these temples, men will be seen kneeling, prostrated, annihilated by the thought of the Infinite. As quoted by Sir William Osler in his introduction to The Life of Pasteur (1907) by Rene Vallery-Radot, as translated by R .L. Devonshire (1923)

„Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers.“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. I pray while I am engaged at my work in the laboratory. As quoted in The Literary Digest (18 October 1902)

„I could point to that liquid and say to you, I have taken my drop of water from the immensity of creation, and I have taken it full of the elements appropriated to the development of inferior beings. And I wait, I watch, I question it, begging it to recommence for me the beautiful spectacle of the first creation. But it is dumb, dumb since these experiments were begun several years ago; it is dumb because I have kept it from the only thing man cannot produce, from the germs which float in the air, from Life, for Life is a germ and a germ is Life. Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment.“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: Here is an infusion of organic matter, as limpid as distilled water, and extremely alterable. It has been prepared to-day. To-morrow it will contain animalculae, little infusories, or flakes of mouldiness. I place a portion of that infusion into a flask with a long neck, like this one. Suppose I boil the liquid and leave it to cool. After a few days, mouldiness or animalculae will develop in the liquid. By boiling, I destroyed any germs contained in the liquid or against the glass; but that infusion being again in contact with air, it becomes altered, as all infusions do. Now suppose I repeat this experiment, but that, before boiling the liquid, I draw (by means of an enameller's lamp) the neck of the flask into a point, leaving however, its extremity open. This being done, I boil the liquid in the flask, and leave it to cool. Now the liquid of this second flask will remain pure not only two days, a month, a year, but three or four years — for the experiment I am telling you about is already four years old, and the liquid remains as limpid as distilled water. What difference is there, then, between those two vases? They contain the same liquid, they both contain air, both are open! Why does one decay and the other remain pure? The only difference between them is this : in the first case, the dusts suspended in air and their germs can fall into the neck of the flask and arrive into contact with the liquid, where they find appropriate food and develop; thence microscopic beings. In the second flask, on the contrary, it is impossible, or at least extremely difficult, unless air is violently shaken, that dusts suspended in air should enter the vase; they fall on its curved neck. When air goes in and out of the vase through diffusions or variations of temperature, the latter never being sudden, the air comes in slowly enough to drop the dusts and germs that it carries at the opening of the neck or in the first curves. This experiment is full of instruction; for this must be noted, that everything in air save its dusts can easily enter the vase and come into contact with the liquid. Imagine what you choose in the air — electricity, magnetism, ozone, unknown forces even, all can reach the infusion. Only one thing cannot enter easily, and that is dust, suspended in air. And the proof of this is that if I shake the vase violently two or three times, in a few days it contains animalculae or mouldiness. Why? because air has come in violently enough to carry dust with it. And, therefore, gentlemen, I could point to that liquid and say to you, I have taken my drop of water from the immensity of creation, and I have taken it full of the elements appropriated to the development of inferior beings. And I wait, I watch, I question it, begging it to recommence for me the beautiful spectacle of the first creation. But it is dumb, dumb since these experiments were begun several years ago; it is dumb because I have kept it from the only thing man cannot produce, from the germs which float in the air, from Life, for Life is a germ and a germ is Life. Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment. Translation from The Life of Pasteur, pp. 141-142 https://archive.org/stream/cu31924012227595#page/n153/mode/2up Original in French: Et par conséquent, messieurs pourrais-je dire, en vous montrant ce liquide : J’ai pris dans l’immensité de la création ma goutte d’eau, et je l’ai prise toute pleine de la gelée féconde, c’est-à-dire, pour parler le langage de la science, toute pleine des éléments appropriés au développement des êtres inférieurs, Et j’attends, et j’observe, et je l’interroge, et je lui demande de vouloir bien recommencer pour moi la primitive création ; ce serait un si beau spectacle ! Mais elle est muette ! Elle est muette depuis plusieurs années que ces expériences sont commencées. Ah ! c’est que j’ai éloigné d’elle, et que j’éloigne encore en ce moment, la seule chose qu’il n’ait pas été donné à l’homme de produire, j’ai éloigné d’elle les germes qui flottent dans l’ait" j’ai éloigné d’elle la vie, car la vie c’est le germe et le germe c’est la vie. Jamais la doctrine de la génération spontanée ne se relèvera du coup mortel que Cette simple expérience lui porte.

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„My philosophy is of the heart and not of the mind,“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: I confess frankly, however, that I am not competent on the question of our philosophical schools. Of M. Comte I have only read a few absurd passages; of M. Littré I only know the beautiful pages you were inspired to write by his rare knowledge and some of his domestic virtues. My philosophy is of the heart and not of the mind, and I give myself up, for instance, to those feelings about eternity which come naturally at the bedside of a cherished child drawing its last breath. At those supreme moments, there is something in the depths of our souls which tells us that the world may be more than a mere combination of phenomena proper to a mechanical equilibrium brought out of the chaos of the elements simply through the gradual action of the forces of matter. p. 163

„It is a matter of fact; I approached without a preconceived idea, too ready to declare, if the experiment had imposed upon me the confession, that there was a spontaneous generation, of which I am convinced today that those who assure it are blindfolded.“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: Do you understand now the relationship between the question of spontaneous generation and the major problems that I listed in the beginning? But, gentlemen, in such a subject, rather than as poetry, pretty fancy and instinctive solutions, it is time for science, the true method resumes its duties and exercise. Here, it takes no religion, no philosophy, no atheism, no materialism, no spiritualism. I might even add: as a scholar, I do not mind. It is a matter of fact; I approached without a preconceived idea, too ready to declare, if the experiment had imposed upon me the confession, that there was a spontaneous generation, of which I am convinced today that those who assure it are blindfolded. Original in French: Comprenez-vous maintenant le lien qui existe entre la question des générations spontanées et ces grands problèmes que j'ai énumérés en commençant? Mais, messieurs, dans un pareil sujet, assez de poésie comme cela, assez de fantaisie et de solutions instinctives; il est temps que la science, la vraie méthode reprenne ses droits et les exerce. Il n'y a ici ni religion, ni philosophie, ni athéisme, ni matérialisme, ni spiritualisme qui tienne. Je pourrais même ajouter : Comme savant, peu m'importe. C'est une question de fait; je l'ai abordée sans idée préconçue, aussi prêt à déclarer, si l'expérience m'en avait imposé l'aveu, qu'il existe des générations spontanées, que je suis persuadé aujourd'hui que ceux qui les affirment ont un bandeau sur les veux. Also found in Histoire du développement de la biologie, Volume 3, by Hendrik Cornelius Dirk de Wit (1994), PPUR presses polytechniques, p. 393

„Do you understand now the relationship between the question of spontaneous generation and the major problems that I listed in the beginning?“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: Do you understand now the relationship between the question of spontaneous generation and the major problems that I listed in the beginning? But, gentlemen, in such a subject, rather than as poetry, pretty fancy and instinctive solutions, it is time for science, the true method resumes its duties and exercise. Here, it takes no religion, no philosophy, no atheism, no materialism, no spiritualism. I might even add: as a scholar, I do not mind. It is a matter of fact; I approached without a preconceived idea, too ready to declare, if the experiment had imposed upon me the confession, that there was a spontaneous generation, of which I am convinced today that those who assure it are blindfolded. Original in French: Comprenez-vous maintenant le lien qui existe entre la question des générations spontanées et ces grands problèmes que j'ai énumérés en commençant? Mais, messieurs, dans un pareil sujet, assez de poésie comme cela, assez de fantaisie et de solutions instinctives; il est temps que la science, la vraie méthode reprenne ses droits et les exerce. Il n'y a ici ni religion, ni philosophie, ni athéisme, ni matérialisme, ni spiritualisme qui tienne. Je pourrais même ajouter : Comme savant, peu m'importe. C'est une question de fait; je l'ai abordée sans idée préconçue, aussi prêt à déclarer, si l'expérience m'en avait imposé l'aveu, qu'il existe des générations spontanées, que je suis persuadé aujourd'hui que ceux qui les affirment ont un bandeau sur les veux. Also found in Histoire du développement de la biologie, Volume 3, by Hendrik Cornelius Dirk de Wit (1994), PPUR presses polytechniques, p. 393

„The human spirit, driven by an invincible force, will never cease to ask: What is beyond?“

— Louis Pasteur
Context: The human spirit, driven by an invincible force, will never cease to ask: What is beyond? Does he want to stop either in time or in space? Since the point at which he has reigned is only a finite magnitude, greater only than all those who have preceded him, he has scarcely begun to think of it as the implacable question and always without being able to silence his curiosity. There is nothing to answer: there are spaces, times or magnitudes without limits. No one understands these words. <!-- He who proclaims the existence of the infinite, and no one can escape from it accumulates in this affirmation more supernatural than there is in all the miracles of all religions; for the notion of the infinite has the double character of imposing itself and of being incomprehensible.

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