Who was Louis Pasteur's family?


Quick Answer

Louis Pasteur's family includes his parents, a brother, three sisters, his wife, a son and four daughters. Of his children, only two grew into adulthood, and the other three died of typhus as children. His father was a tanner following a long family tradition.

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Full Answer

Pasteur left his family to study in Paris at the age of 16. However, overcome by homesickness, he returned home less than a month later to study locally. After completing his doctorate in 1847 at the Ecole Normale in Paris, he became a professor at the University of Strasbourg in 1848. There, he met Marie Laurent, the daughter of the university's rector, and they married on May 29, 1849.

Pasteur's children included Jeanne, Jean-Baptiste, Cecile, Marie-Louise and Camille. Jeanne died at age 9, Cecile at age 12 and Camille at age 2. Jean-Baptiste Pasteur married Jeanne Boutroux in 1874. Daughter Marie-Louise married Rene Vallery-Radot in 1879, and he wrote one of Pasteur's biographies.

Even though he suffered personal tragedy in his family, Pasteur's work laid the foundation for childhood immunizations that have saved the lives of many children. In 1879, he developed a vaccine for chicken cholera. In 1885, he vaccinated Joseph Meister, a boy bitten by a rabid dog. It was the success of this vaccine that brought him immediate fame.

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