The Science, 1912–1958
DOI link for The Science, 1912–1958
The Science, 1912–1958 book
To many historians of medicine, the germ theory of disease is one of the greatest discoveries of modern science.1 Postulated by Pasteur and Koch during the late 19th century, it is supposed to have brought enlightenment and progress to a medical field still steeped in ignorance and superstition. A new science was born, bacteriology, as well as a new group of laboratorybased research workers, the ‘microbe-hunters’, who identified the germs responsible for disease and sought new ways of controlling them. In discovering vaccines and serums with which to prevent infection they vanquished ailments such as typhoid, plague, cholera and diphtheria, which for centuries had struck fear into the hearts of men and women. And in expanding the knowledge and understanding of disease, they made medicine ‘modern’ and ‘scientific’. It was therefore inevitable, so the story goes, that doctors and the state would take note of their findings and encourage further research, for only the ignorant, old-fashioned or self-interested could fail to recognize the benefits of bacteriology.