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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Louis Pasteur Quotes > Science

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Louis Pasteur
(27 Dec 1822 - 28 Sep 1895)

French chemist who became a founder of microbiology. He created and tested vaccines for diphtheria, cholera, yellow fever, plague, rabies, anthrax, and tuberculosis.


Louis Pasteur Quotes on Science (25 quotes)

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Il n’existe pas de sciences appliquées, mais seulement des applications de la science.
There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.
— Louis Pasteur
Address (11 Sep 1872). In Comptes Rendus des Travaux du Congrès viticole et séricole de Lyon, 9-14 Septembre 1872, 49.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (117)  |  Applied Science (28)  |  Science (1699)

Le premier regard de l’homme jeté sur l’univers n’y découvre que variété, diversité, multiplicité des phénomènes. Que ce regard soit illuminé par la science,—par la science qui rapproche l’homme de Dieu,—et la simplicité et l’unité brillent de toutes parts.
Man’s first glance at the universe discovers only variety, diversity, multiplicity of phenomena. Let that glance be illuminated by science—by the science which brings man closer to God,—and simplicity and unity shine on all sides.
— Louis Pasteur
Original French quoted in René Vallery-Radot, La Vie de Pasteur (1901), 209. Translation by Google translate, tweaked by Webmaster. The English version of the book, omits this passage, except for “Science, which brings man nearer to God.” In The Life of Pasteur (1902), Vol. 1, 194.
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Sans laboratoires les savants sont des soldats sans armes
Without laboratories men of science are soldiers without arms.
— Louis Pasteur
In French, quoted as “cette phrase mémorable de Pasteur” (this memorable expression by Pasteur) in Bulletin de la Société de Gynécologie et d'Obstétrique de Paris (1923), 205. In French and English, as an epigraph, in The Wellcome Research Institution and the Affiliated Research Laboratories and Museums Founded by Sir Henry Wellcome (1932), 3.
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As I show you this liquid, I too could tell you, 'I took my drop of water from the immensity of creation, and I took it filled with that fecund jelly, that is, to use the language of science, full of the elements needed for the development of lower creatures. And then I waited, and I observed, and I asked questions of it, and I asked it to repeat the original act of creation for me; what a sight it would be! But it is silent! It has been silent for several years, ever since I began these experiments. Yes! And it is because I have kept away from it, and am keeping away from it to this moment, the only thing that it has not been given to man to produce, I have kept away from it the germs that are floating in the air, I have kept away from it life, for life is the germ, and the germ is life.'
— Louis Pasteur
Quoted in Patrice Debré, Louis Pasteur, trans. Elborg Forster (1994), 169.
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As in the experimental sciences, truth cannot be distinguished from error as long as firm principles have not been established through the rigorous observation of facts.
— Louis Pasteur
Ésur la maladie des vers ásoie (1870), 39.
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If it is a terrifying thought that life is at the mercy of the multiplication of these minute bodies [microbes], it is a consoling hope that Science will not always remain powerless before such enemies...
— Louis Pasteur
Paper read to the French Academy of Sciences (29 Apr 1878), published in Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences, 86, 1037-43, as translated by H.C.Ernst. Collected in Charles W. Eliot (ed.) The Harvard Classics, Vol. 38; Scientific Papers: Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology (1910), 366.
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If science has no country, the scientist should have one, and ascribe to it the influence which his works may have in this world.
— Louis Pasteur
Address at the Inauguration of the Pasteur Institute (14 Nov 1888). In René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, translated by Mrs. R. L. Devonshire (1919), 443.
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If the mysterious influence to which the dissymmetry of nature is due should come to change in sense or direction, the constituting elements of all living beings would take an inverse dissymmetry. Perhaps a new world would be presented to us. Who could foresee the organization of living beings, if the cellulose, which is right, should become left, if the left albumen of the blood should become right? There are here mysteries which prepare immense labours for the future, and from this hour invite the most serious meditations in science.
— Louis Pasteur
Lecture (3 Feb 1860), to the Chemical Society of Paris, 'On the Molecular Dissymetry of Natural Organic Products', reprinted in The Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science (3 May 1862), 5, No. 126, 248.
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In experimental science it’s always a mistake not to doubt when facts do not compel you to affirm.
— Louis Pasteur
…...
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It is characteristic of experimental science that it opens ever-widening horizons to our vision.
— Louis Pasteur
As translated in René J. Dubos, Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1950, 1986), 329.
Science quotes on:  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Horizon (13)  |  Science (1699)

Laboratory and discovery are related terms. Do away with laboratories, and the physical sciences will be become the image of the sterility of death.
Laboratoires et découvertes sont des termes corrélatifs. Supprimez les laboratoires, les sciences physiques deviendront l’image de la stérilité et de la mort.
— Louis Pasteur
In article 'The Budget of Science', Revue des Cours Scientifiques (1 Feb 1868) and published as a pamphlet, Some Reflections on Science in France. As translated in Patrice Debré and Elborg Forster (trans.), Louis Pasteur (2000), 143. Original French quote in René Vallery-Radot, La Vie de Pasteur (1900), 215. Note: Pasteur was fighting for a new laboratory building, but funding had been withdrawn—yet many millions were being spent to build an opera house. The full article, which was scorching, had been first sent to the newspaper, Moniteur in early Jan 1868, but it was declined as too politically controversial. Napoleon III was notified, and he was sympathetic. Other translations include: “Laboratories and discoveries are correlative terms. If you suppress laboratories, physical science will become stricken with barrenness and death.” In René Vallery-Radot and Mrs R. L. Devonshire (trans.) The Life of Pasteur (1902), 199.
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No category of sciences exists to which one could give the name of applied sciences. There are science and the applications of science, linked together as fruit is to the tree that has borne it.
Il n’existe pas une catégorie de sciences auxquelles on puisse donner le nom de sciences appliquées. II y a la science et les applications de la science, liées entre elles comme le fruit à l’arbre qui l’a porté.
— Louis Pasteur
Original French in 'La Science en france: Pourquoi la France n’a pas trouvé d’hommes supérieurs au moment de péril', La Revue Scientifique de la France et de l’Étranger Revue des Cours Scientifique (22 Jul 1871), 2, No. 4, 74. Translation as given in Isaac Asimov and Jason A. Shulman (eds.), Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 322
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Preconceived ideas are like searchlights which illumine the path of experimenter and serve him as a guide to interrogate nature. They become a danger only if he transforms them into fixed ideas – this is why I should like to see these profound words inscribed on the threshold of all the temples of science: “The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.”
— Louis Pasteur
Speech (8 Jul 1876), to the French Academy of Medicine. As translated in René J. Dubos, Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1950, 1986), 376. Date of speech identified in Maurice B. Strauss, Familiar Medical Quotations (1968), 502.
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Science advances through tentative answers to a series of more and more subtle questions which reach deeper and deeper into the essence of natural phenomena.
— Louis Pasteur
…...
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Science brings men nearer to God.
— Louis Pasteur
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 38
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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.
— Louis Pasteur
From banquet Toast (1876), at the International Congress of Sericulture, Milan, Italy, as translated in René Dubos, Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960), 85. Banquet date identified in Maurice B. Strauss, Familiar Medical Quotations (1968), 519.
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Science proceeds by successive answers to questions more and more subtle, coming nearer and nearer to the very essence of phenomena.
— Louis Pasteur
From Études sur la bière, Chap 6, Sec. vi. As translated by René J. Dubos, quoted and cited in Maurice B. Strauss, Familiar Medical Quotations (1968), 526.
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The Sciences gain by mutual support.
— Louis Pasteur
Opening sentence of 'The Germ Theory: And its Applications to Medicine and Surgery', collected in The Harvard Classics: Scientific Papers: Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology (1910), Vol. 38, 382. Cited as read before French Academy of Science (20 Apr 1878), published in Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, 84, 1037.
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There is no such thing as a special category of science called applied science; there is science and its applications, which are related to one another as the fruit is related to the tree that has borne it.
— Louis Pasteur
In Pasteur Vallery-Radot (ed.), Correspondance de Pasteur 1840-1895 (1940), Vol. 1, 315. Quoted in Patrice Debré and Elborg Forster (trans.), Louis Pasteur, (1994), 84.
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This marvellous experimental method eliminates certain facts, brings forth others, interrogates nature, compels it to reply and stops only when the mind is fully satisfied. The charm of our studies, the enchantment of science, is that, everywhere and always, we can give the justification of our principles and the proof of our discoveries.
— Louis Pasteur
As quoted in René Dubos, Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960, 1986), 377.
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To demonstrate experimentally that a microscopic organism actually is the cause of a disease and the agent of contagion, I know no other way, in the present state of Science, than to subject the microbe (the new and happy term introduced by M. Sédillot) to the method of cultivation out of the body.
— Louis Pasteur
Paper read to the French Academy of Sciences (29 Apr 1878), published in Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences, 86, 1037-43, as translated by H.C.Ernst. Collected in Charles W. Eliot (ed.) The Harvard Classics, Vol. 38; Scientific Papers: Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology (1910), 364.
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To him who devotes his life to science, nothing can give more happiness than increasing the number of discoveries, but his cup of joy is full when the results of his studies immediately find practical applications.
— Louis Pasteur
As quoted in René J. Dubos, Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960, 1986), 85.
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We affirm the neutrality of Science ... Science is of no country. ... But if Science has no country, the scientist must keep in mind all that may work towards the glory of his country. In every great scientist will be found a great patriot.
— Louis Pasteur
Address at the International Medical Congress, Palace of Industry, Copenhagen (10 Aug 1884). In René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, translated by Mrs. R. L. Devonshire (1919), 399.
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Without theory, practice is but routine born of habit. Theory alone can bring forth and develop the spirit of invention. ... [Do not] share the opinion of those narrow minds who disdain everything in science which has not an immediate application. ... A theoretical discovery has but the merit of its existence: it awakens hope, and that is all. But let it be cultivated, let it grow, and you will see what it will become.
— Louis Pasteur
Inaugural Address as newly appointed Professor and Dean (Sep 1854) at the opening of the new Faculté des Sciences at Lille (7 Dec 1854). In René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, translated by Mrs. R. L. Devonshire (1919), 76.
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You bring me the deepest joy that can be felt by a man [Pasteur himself] whose invincible belief is that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will unite, not to destroy, but to build, and that the future will belong to those who will have done most for suffering humanity. But whether our efforts are or are not favored by life, let us be able to say, when we come near to the great goal, “I have done what I could.”
— Louis Pasteur
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (27 Dec 1892) where his 70th birth was recognized. His son presented the speech due to the weakness of Pastuer's voice. In René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, R. L. Devonshire (trans.) (1902), Vol. 2, 297.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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