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Louis Pasteur

Pasteur was a true polymath, problem-solver and experimenter. He had a deep love of science as well as working with industry to help solve complex problems, which resonates with me personally, having moved from the lab bench into the realm of business consulting.

One of his earlier industry triumphs was solving a problem concerning the nature of a chemical found in the sediments of fermenting wine. He was able to observe two compounds that had the exact same chemical composition but were actually structurally different (for those interested - this was based on their differential rotation in polarised light and led to the future understanding of optical isomers).

Pasteur was brilliant at influencing others. Although he was not the first to propose the germ theory, he was instrumental in convincing Europe that the growth of microorganisms during fermentation was due to biogenesis, not spontaneous generation (as thought at the time). Pasteur developed the Pasteurisation process, which reduces the number of viable pathogens likely to cause disease in beer, wine and milk (for which I am personally grateful for, as I’m sure are many others).

Fortune favours the prepared mind

Finally, Pasteur demonstrated action over analysis, which is a theme that strongly resonates with the Digital Problem Solving team. This is exemplified in how Pasteur developed a cure for rabies by injecting an untested vaccine into a nine-year-old boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. This was a true ‘prove or pivot’ moment - especially as Pasteur was not a licensed physician and would have been prosecuted, but was instead hailed a national hero when the boy was cured.