Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/845

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823
SKETCH OF M. LOUIS PASTEUR.

Twelfth month (Sada), forty-one days, from the 11th of May till the 20th of June. The Pleiades may be seen at half past five in the morning, a little later Orion. The rice-harvest is finished, cotton and indigo are planted, and the ground is prepared for maize. The shadow measures three feet south, and the sun goes to its northernmost point.

Such, according to our Dutch author, is the calendar of the Javanese. It furnishes a series of careful observations such as we meet only among a primitive people. It also affords numerous examples of the peculiarities not only of the starry skies of the tropics, but also of the meteorological conditions and the properties of tropical vegetation.—Die Natur.

 

SKETCH OF M. LOUIS PASTEUR.

Louis Pasteur, the distinguished French chemist and author of researches in fermentation and the germs of disease which have been fruitful in valuable discoveries, was born at Dôle, in the Jura, December 27, 1822. He entered the university in 1840, became a supernumerary Master of Studies at the College of Besançon, was received as a pupil in the École Normale in 1843, took the degree of Doctor in 1847, and was appointed Professor of Physics in the Faculty of Sciences at Dijon in 1848, and of Chemistry at Strasburg, in 1849. In 1854 he was appointed Dean of the newly created Faculty of Sciences at Lille, and was intrusted with the duty of organizing it. In 1857 he returned to Paris, and became Scientific Director of the École Normale. In December, 1863, he was appointed Professor of Geology, Physics, and Chemistry at the École des Beaux-Arts, and was elected a member of the Institute. He has written numerous works relating to chemistry, and has contributed much to the "Recueil des Savants Étrangers" and the "Annales de Chimie et de Physique"; and for his researches relative to the polarization of light he received, in 1856, the Rumford medal from the Royal Society of London. His work in pure chemistry, however meritorious, and brilliant enough though it was, has been eclipsed by his vastly more important and more fruitful researches in fermentation; into the causes of certain diseases of plants, animals, and man; and into the modes of reproduction of the lower organisms (or the theory of spontaneous generation), and the parts which those lower organisms play in the production of chemical changes, and in the origination and spread of disease—in which field he may almost be said to have constituted a new science, and has certainly performed a work of incalculable benefit to mankind. These investigations have been pursued under the light of the theory, to which their results in turn have given additional force, that all fermentations are processes connected with life, and that this life—and any life—is not of spontaneous pro-