March 3, 2016 – The Unknown Story of Art and Artists in Louis Pasteur’s Personal and Professional Life

By , January 26, 2016

The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, presents:

The Unknown Story of Art and Artists in Louis Pasteur’s Personal and Professional Life

AlbertEdelfelt-LouisPasteur-1885Bert Hansen, Ph.D.: Professor Emeritus of History, Baruch College, City University of New York

For over a century, biographers of the great medical scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) have ignored his passionate and sophisticated love for painting and sculpture and the delight he took in his close friendships with leading artists.  New research on this forgotten history enriches our understanding of his personality as well as his manner of working.  The sober chemist, who had seemed to be devoted strictly to work and family, took enormous pleasure in the fine arts and used them as well to advance his career.  In a colorful slide show, Professor Bert Hansen will explore the artistic threads that persist from Pasteur’s childhood through his landmark scientific and medical discoveries and continue through retirement to his death at age 72.


Bert Hansen recently retired from Baruch College of CUNY.  He has been teaching the history of science and medicine since 1974, with appointments at Binghamton University (SUNY), New York University, and the University of Toronto, and year-long fellowships at Harvard University and the Institute for Advanced Study.  His research has explored the natural science of Nicole Oresme, obstetrics teaching in the 1860s, the new medical categorization of homosexuals in the 1890s, the advocacy for public health and sanitation in political cartoons from 1860 to 1900, and the popularity of medical history heroes in children’s comic books in the United States (1940s) and in Mexico (1960s and 1970s).  His second book, Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America (Rutgers University Press, 2009), was honored by the Popular Culture Association and the American Library Association.  Articles about Louis Pasteur’s passion for the fine arts have recently appeared in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Distillations Magazine, and the Journal of Medical Biography.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reception begins at 5:00pm.

Waterhouse Room
Gordon Hall
Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. To register, use our online registration form or email us at

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