Microscopes used by Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister, late 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These two microscopes were used in the work of two of the most famous scientists of the 19th century. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) carried out experiments in the 1860s which proved that germs present in the air are responsible for disease and decay. He discovered a proces of heating liquids to kill pathogens in milk, wine and foods, now known as pasteurisation, and went on to produce vaccines against anthrax and rabies. Joseph Lister (1827-1912) was the founder of antiseptic surgery. In 1860, Lister introduced the use of antiseptic conditions in operating areas, greatly reducing the risk of the patient's death from infection and blood poisoning following surgery. His father, Joseph Jackson Lister, was an eminent microscopist.