Louis Pasteur

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In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.

Louis Pasteur (27 December 182228 September 1895) French microbiologist, chemist, pioneer of the "Germ theory of disease", and inventor of the process of Pasteurization.

Sourced

I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner.
  • I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner.
    • Letter (December 1851); as quoted in The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History (2004) by John M. Barry
    • Variant translations:
      I am on the verge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner. The nights seem to me too long... I am often scolded by Madame Pasteur, but I tell her I shall lead her to fame.
      • Microbe Hunters (1926) by Paul De Kruif
    • My plan of study is traced for this coming year... I am hoping to develop it shortly in the most successful manner... I think that I have already told you that I am on the verge of mysteries, and that the veil which covers them is getting thinner and thinner. The nights seem to me too long, yet I do not complain... I am often scolded by Mme. Pasteur, but I console her by telling her that I shall lead her to fame.
      • The Life of Pasteur (1916) by René Vallery-Radot
  • Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.
    • In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.
    • Lecture, University of Lille (7 December 1854)
    • Alternate translations of this or similar statements include:
      • Chance favors the prepared mind.
      • Fortune favors the prepared mind.
      • In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.
      • Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.
  • There does not exist a category of science to which one can give the name applied science. There are sciences and the applications of science, bound together as the fruit of the tree which bears it.
    • Revue Scientifique (1871)
      • Variant translation: There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.
  • L' univers est dissymetrique...
    • The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences. The universe is asymmetric.
    • Works Vol. 1 (1 June 1874) Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences
  • I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will grow, strengthen and improve. Here, humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity's own works are all too often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction.
    • Statement of 1878, as quoted in Crystals and Life : A Personal Journey (2002) by Celerino Abad Zapatero, p. 139
Let me tell you the secret that has lead me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.
  • 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)
  • Blessed is he who carries within himself a god and an ideal and who obeys it — an ideal of art, of science, or gospel virtues. Therein lie the springs of great thoughts and great actions; they all reflect light from 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)
    • Variant translation: Happy is he who bears a God within...
  • Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.
    • As quoted in Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960) by René Jules Dubos, Ch. 3 "Pasteur in Action"
  • One does not ask of one who suffers: What is your country and what is your religion? One merely says: You suffer, that is enough for me...
    • As quoted in Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960) by René Jules Dubos, Ch. 3 "Pasteur in Action"
  • I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.
    • As quoted in Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960) by René Jules Dubos, Ch. 3 "Pasteur in Action"
  • Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.
    • As quoted in There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem (2001) by Wayne W. Dyer

Unsourced

  • Do not let yourself be tainted with a barren skepticism.
  • It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.
  • Science brings men nearer to God.
  • The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the Creator's work.

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