Penn State

Stephen J. Knabel - Professor of Food Science, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Life of Pasteur

Author: Rene Vallery-Radot

Book Description:

I read this book in college and it inspired me to switch my career from chemistry to microbiology, a decision I have never regretted. I found and still find the "Life of Pasteur" fascinating and inspiring for many reasons. He was adept at picking very productive research projects to work on, he developed very elegant experimental designs to test critical hypotheses and he made very close observations that led to many important experiments and discoveries. I was also very impressed with how he integrated basic and applied research that resulted in novel discoveries that had major impacts on public health. Thus, he embodied the Land-grant mission of integration of research, teaching and service before this concept was even thought of in the U.S. I also found the progression of his career fascinating - from chemist to food microbiologist to clinical microbiologist to immunologist. As a microbiologist at a major Land-grant University I have modeled my scientific career after Louis Pasteur. I now ask all of the undergraduate and graduate students in my laboratory to read this book before they get started in the lab. I think it is a great inspiration on how to approach science in order to make significant basic discoveries that have major applied impacts. I encourage everyone interested in science to read this book!

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