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Pasteur Investigates the Relationship Between Optical Activity, Crystalline Structure and Chemical Composition


In his dissertation published in 1847 French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur reported a series of “investigations into the relation between optical activity, crystalline structure, and chemical composition in organic compounds, particularly tartaric and paratartaric acids. This work focused attention on the relationship between optical activity and life, and provided much inspiration and several of the most important techniques for an entirely new approach to the study of chemical structure and composition. In essence, Pasteur opened the way to a consideration of the disposition of atoms in space.” (DSB)

Pasteur, Thèses de physique et de chimie, Presentées à la Faculté des Sciences de Paris. Paris: Bachelier, 1847.

Lesk, Protein Structure, 36.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) no. 1652.

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