The Story of Progress and Discovery
You have probably heard it said that if you put a horsehair in a container of rainwater and place it in the sunshine, a snake will develop. It is hard to convince people even today that this is not true, yet it is not difficult to get a horsehair and some rainwater to try the experiment. Since very early times men have believed that living things could come from non-living things. Some people thought that frogs and toads developed from the mud of ponds, rats from the river Nile, and insects from dew or from rotting waste. Vergil wrote that slime begat(产生) frogs. Centuries later, other men wrote that water produced fishes and that mice came from old rags. This notion that living things can come from lifeless matter is known as the theory of "spontaneous generation. " Today we know that living things can come only from living things. Redi, in the seventeenth century, was the first to experiment to prove that insects do not originate from rotting matter. From his experiment, Redi concluded that maggots appear in decaying meat simply because the eggs of flies hatch there, and not from "spontaneous generation".
At the time of Leeuwenhoek the microscope was not well developed, but with it he discovered bacteria. The study of these tiny forms of life which looked like specks(小污点) to him was not practical until more than 150 years later, when microscopes were much improved. However, the discovery led some medical men at the time to think that contagious diseases were due to germs passed from the sick to the well.
Dr. Edward Jenner, a young English physician, overheard a milkmaid say that she was not afraid of smallpox because she had just recovered from an attack of cowpox. This gave Jenner the clue, and in 1796 he proved that a person vaccinated with cowpox germs is quite certain to escape from getting smallpox. At this time smallpox was so common that about only one person in a hundred escaped.
In Aristotle's days, it was the common belief that air caused foods to spoil. People believed that this was true until the seventeenth century. In 180'0, Napoleon offered a prize for the successful invention of a container which would keep foods from spoiling in war times. The prize was won by Francois Appert, who had worked all his life on this problem. He packed foods in glass or china jars, poured in enough water to cover the food, corked and sealed them, then placed the jars in a container of water which was gradually heated to the boiling point. He thought, however, that it was air that caused the foods to spoil. It was not until fifty years later that Louis Pasteur proved that it was not air that spoiled foods, but tiny living organisms that float about in the air. The first tin-can container was made in 1807 by Peter Durand. The canning industry in the United States began in 1819 when salmon, lobster, and oysters were first canned.
The idea that germs cause disease did not have many followers when it was first suggested. Interest began to be shown again when Bassi, in 1837, showed that a silkworm disease was transmitted to healthy worms by the passing of tiny "glittering particles. " Later, Henle said that "catching" diseases were caused by germs.
About 1850, Louis Pasteur began experimenting with tiny living organisms and was able to discover many important things. He proved that yeast plants cause substances to ferment, that bacteria cause milk to sour, and that floating particles in the air contain living germs which cause spoiling and decay.
Soon after Pasteur had announced these discoveries, Joseph Lister proved that wounds were poisoned by germs from the air or from the surgeon's instruments used during operations. He proved that if the instruments were perfectly clean or sterile and if antiseptic (防腐剂) dressings were used on wounds to prevent the entrance of germs, wounds would heal without decay or blood poisoning. The first antiseptic Lister used was carbolic acid(石炭酸). The wards in the Glasgow infirmary of which Lister had charge were especially affected by gangrene (坏蛆). In a short time they became the healthiest of any known, because he applied his knowledge of antiseptics to the healing of wounds. With some improvements, Lister's methods are used today.
Major Laveran was the first to discover that a certain germ was always present in the blood of patients who had malaria. Eight years later, in 1888, Major Ross proved that he found a similar germ in the body of the Anopheles mosquito. Then, by other experiments, it was shown that the germs that cause malaria can be transmitted only by the bite of the mosquito. To prove this, two physicians in London permitted themselves to be bitten by mosquitoes which had previously bitten malarial patients in Italy and ten were shipped in a box to London. In eighteen days after being bitten by these mosquitoes, both physicians developed malarial fever. Soon it was proved that the germs of yellow fever were carried by the Aedes mosquito.
About this time there were many dogs with rabies in Paris, and Pasteur set about to show how to inoculate for hydrophobia, the disease which is caused by the bite of a mad dog. He had done many experiments but had not yet tried his success with a human being, when a boy who had been bitten by a mad dog was brought to Pasteur's laboratory by his parents. Pasteur's work was still being criticized by many, and he hesitated to inoculate the boy. The parents pleaded, and Pasteur agreed, if the boy would be left under his care. The inoculation on the boy with hydrophobia germs was successful, and Pasteur's fame spread rapidly. Three years later, the first Pasteur Institute for the treatment of rabies was established in Paris. Thousands of cases were successfully treated here, and here also Roux discovered the antitoxin for diphtheria.
The modern scientific method of dealing with diseases was developed by Pasteur. Many people still doubted things which he had proved, but which were contrary to what they had always believed and to what they wanted to believe. He decided to put on a public demonstration. He would try to prove that he could successfully vaccinate sheep against anthrax, a disease which was causing great losses of flocks in France. Even at that time, people said a farmer was being punished by God if his sheep died. The experiment was begun on May 5,1882, near Melun, France. Pasteur's reputation depended on the result. A large crowd of farmers, doctors, and curious onlookers gathered for the event. Most of them did not believe he would succeed. Of the fifty sheep used in experiment, Pasteur inoculated twenty-five with his protective vaccine, while the other twenty-five were not vaccinated. On May 31, he gave all fifty sheep a strong inoculation of anthrax poison and predicted that by June fifth all the unprotected sheep would be dead and all the protected ones alive. On June second, he went to the farm where the experiment had been performed and found that twenty-two of the unprotected sheep were already dead and the other three were dying. All the animals which had been vaccinated were in perfect health. Those who had doubted him were now convinced, and he was praised all over France. From this time on, his methods were adopted everywhere.
1. The passage gives a general description of progress made in discovery of the cause and prevention of certain diseases.
2. Centuries ago, it was believed that non-living things could develop into living things.
3. Dr Jenner experimented to show that milkmaids were immune to smallpox.
4. Francois Appert heated the water in a container to the boiling point to stop the food from spoiling.
5. Louis Pasteur was the first to prove that diseases were transmitted by germs.
6. Joseph Lister set up the first wards in Glasgow where antiseptic dressings were employed.
7. Two physicians in London agreed to be bitten by the Aedes mosquito to demonstrate how the germs of yellow fever were carried.
8. In Pasteur's experiment, _______sheep died because they were not inoculated.
9. In_______, Louis Pasteur proved that it was living organisms floating about in the air
that spoiled foods.
10. Cases of rabies can be successfully treated only by_______.
I. Y 2. Y 3. N 4. Y 5. Y 6. NG 7. N 8. 25 9. 1850 10. inoculation
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