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J Hist Neurosci. 2009 Oct;18(4):378-86. doi: 10.1080/09647040802536967.

Charcot and Pasteur: intersecting orbits in fin de siècle French medicine.

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  • 1Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Charcot and Pasteur were scientific contemporaries, but their relationship has not been extensively studied. We analyzed available source documents from the Charcot Library, Bibliothèque Nationale, Institute Pasteur, and Pasteur Library. These documents demonstrate that in spite of geographical proximity, international and local recognition, Charcot and Pasteur largely pursued their careers independent of one another. Although the Paris scientific climate was one of active debate, Pasteur's and Charcot's interactions remained distanced but mutually respectful and did not descend into rivalry or contention. With different primary interests and different etiological views, side by side, they exemplified two models of French medicine at the close of the nineteenth century: medical scientist and scientific physician.

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