Thomas Goetz is a noted science journalist and healthcare innovator. The entrepreneur-in-residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he is also co-founder of the health technology company, Iodine. The former executive editor of WIRED, his writing has been selected repeatedly for the Best American Science Writing and Best American Technology Writing anthologies.
Thomas holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in American literature from the University of Virginia. He graduated from Bates College, where he learned to juggle five balls at once (he's since back down to three). He lives in San Francisco.
This biography was last updated on 05/08/2014.
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Thomas Goetz, author of The Remedy discusses Germ Theory, science, and the impact of technology on society.
What is the Germ Theory, and why was it so important?
The Germ Theory is the hypothesis that many diseases are caused by microbes, not by the body itself or by some other cause such as miasma bad air. The idea that some diseases were pathogenic or contagious had been around for centuries, but it wasn't until Louis Pasteur in the 1860s and then Robert Koch in the 1870s that enough evidence was marshaled to make the argument convincing. In particular, it was Koch, with his Postulates a series of conditions that must be met to prove a microbial cause of disease who produced a method by which science could definitively establish the cause of disease.
Pasteur and Koch's work on the Germ Theory constitutes the birth of modern medicine, when science finally began to explore the true causes of disease and therefore to determine vaccines or treatments for those diseases. Once the germ theory was established in laboratories, at last hygienists and social reformers could finally attack the causes of infectious disease, which were by far the leading cause of death in the 19th and early 20th ...
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