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Books, Journals, New Media
May 17, 2000

Pasteur: Louis Pasteur

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2000;283(19):2587-2588. doi:10.1001/jama.283.19.2587-JBK0517-3-1

Two extraordinary biographies of Louis Pasteur were published to mark the centennial of his death in 1995. One by an American (The Private Science of Louis Pasteur, by Gerald L. Geison, professor of history of science at Princeton University) was widely denounced in France as a scandalous attack on the character of The Master. The other, Louis Pasteur, originally in French by Patrice Debré, the director of immunology at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, France, was judged to be a valuable scholarly contribution. The English version of this latter book, translated by Elborg Forster, has now been published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Neither Geison's nor Debré's biography paints an entirely flattering portrait of Pasteur.