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Book Cover: Pasteur's Gambit: Louis Pasteur, the Australasian Rabbit Plague, and a Ten Million Dollar Prize

                   WINNER, Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Science Writing.

               SHORTLISTED, Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Science Writing.

 

' A fantastic story. Part science, part history, sprinklings of drama, and ultimately a real adventure.' PROFESSOR TONY PEACOCK, University of Canberra

"I had no idea that Pasteur had so much trouble raising the money for the Pasteur Institute... clearly far from the truth!" said PROFESSOR SIR GUSTAV NOSSAL of the University of Melbourne, Australia's leading microbiologist, to Stephen following the publication of this award-winning book. A book presented by the scientific community to seven winners of the Nobel Prize.

When New South Wales Premier Sir Henry Parkes staged an international competition to find a microbiological remedy to the Australasian rabbit plague of the 1880s, he recieved 1500 entries from around the world, one of those entries came from Louis Pasteur in Paris.

Pasteur, desperate to win the contest prize, worth $10 million in today's money, to fund the opening of his new Pasteur Institute in the French capital, sent his nephew and protege Adrien Loir to Australia to secure the win.

While Parkes was keen for Pasteur to win, and helped young Loir set up the world's second Pasteur Institute on Rodd Island in Sydney Harbour, others in Australia engaged Pasteur's greatest scientific rival, Germany's Robert Kock, in an attempt to scuttle the Pasteur bid.

Scientific discovery, an international scandal, spying, sabotage and skullduggery, and a little sex, were all to follow. The sex part came when Pasteur's nephew Loir had an affair on Rodd Island with visiting French actress and superstar Sarah Bernhardt.

There were only two major Australian literary awards for science writing when Pasteur's Gambit was published. This book won one of them, and was shortlisted for the other.

Yet this amazing true tale reads like a novel. The result of the sort of exhaustive research for which Stephen Dando-Collins is renowned, in Australia and France. It's the stuff of a movie or TV miniseries - which maybe one day it will be.

 

 

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