Gerald L. Geison, 58, a Princeton history professor nationally known for his biography of Louis Pasteur, died Monday in Princeton, N.J., of complications from an enlarged heart.
Geison, an expert in the history of medicine, published the controversial book "The Private Science of Louis Pasteur" in 1995. Based on Pasteur's lab notebooks, the book provided new insight into the secretive and revered man for whom "pasteurization" is named.
In contrast to the public record of Pasteur's unblemished career, Geison said the scientist took undue human risks in his rush to develop the rabies vaccine and incorporated a colleague's findings but took sole credit for an anthrax vaccine.
The popular professor, a native of Savanna, Ill., who was educated at Beloit College in Wisconsin and at Yale, also wrote a well-received 1978 biography, "Michael Foster and the Cambridge School of Physiology: The Scientific Enterprise in Late Victorian Society."