No one knew what caused infections when Louis Pasteur was a boy in the early 1800s. No one knew that germs spread disease. There were no antibiotics or other drugs. Many people died from infections.
Pasteur discovered that bacteria cause many diseases. He showed that bacteria get into living things and then multiply. He proved that diseases could be cured by stopping the spread of bacteria. This important discovery is called the germ theory of disease. It led to antibiotics and other medicines that kill bacteria. Pasteur’s discovery has saved the lives of many people.
At a time when women scientists were rare, Marie Curie probed the mysteries of radioactivity and X rays. In 1903, she and her husband won the Nobel Prize in physics, one of the most important awards in science. In 1911, Marie Curie won a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry. She is one of very few people in history to win two Nobel prizes.
MARIE CURIE’S EARLY LIFE
Marie Curie was born as Maria Sklodowska in Poland in 1867. Though Maria excelled in school, no university in Poland at that time allowed female students.
It lasted only 12 seconds, but those 12 seconds changed history. On December 17, 1903, two brothers named Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first airplane flight.
Wilbur Wright was born in Millville, Indiana, in 1867. Orville was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871. Neither boy graduated from high school, but mechanical things fascinated the young Wright brothers. They taught themselves math and engineering. In 1892, the brothers opened a shop in Dayton where they designed and built bicycles.
Isaac Newton was always wondering about the things he saw around him. What holds the Moon and planets in the sky? How does a rainbow form? He uncovered basic laws of nature. He used mathematics to explain these laws and predict how objects would behave. He became one of the greatest scientists of all time.
Newton was born in Woolsthorpe, England, on December 25, 1642. He loved to build mechanical models, but he was not a good student. His mother took him out of school so that he could help run the family farm. Newton did not like farming.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time. She was a champion in basketball, track and field, and golf. She also swam, boxed, played baseball, and many other sports. In 1950, she was named the greatest female athlete of the first half of the 20th century.
Zaharias was born Mildred Didrikson in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1911. She married a wrestler, George Zaharias, in 1938.