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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

gkat_011.pdf48° 50 24 N, 2° 18 42 E

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The Founder of Immunology

The French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur is a household name because of the pasteurization of milk and other liquids. But Pasteur originally started out doing a doctorate on crystallography. He went on to disprove the theory of spontaneous generation (that bacteria and other living creatures such as maggots could appear from nowhere), and later showed how to create vaccinations using weakened forms of live diseases.

The Institut Pasteur is a private foundation that performs fundamental biological research. Pasteur is buried inside the institute, and the rooms he lived in during the last part of his life have been turned into a museum. Pasteur’s home consisted of 10 rooms and two galleries with a grand staircase linking them, and it has been entirely restored to the state it was in when Pasteur was alive.

The museum is partly historical and partly scientific. The general living spaces show the comfortable life Pasteur and his wife enjoyed in the large apartment, and Pasteur’s crypt is a Byzantine funeral chamber under the building. Of interest to scientists is an entire room dedicated to Pasteur’s equipment and specimens.

Pasteur’s crystallography work looked at tartaric acid (C

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