Auguste Trillat and the foundations of the French biological and chemical weapons program

Abstract : In the second half of the 19th century, the French chemist, engineer and biologist Auguste Trillat patented a chemical compound of formaldehyde known as formol. In 1905, Trillat became head of the Pasteur Institute’s applied hygiene research department, in Paris. His main engineering activities consisted in producing chemical disinfection devices. His concern for hygiene, which contributed to a great extent to his success, led him to create an original epidemiological theory of aerosols. He claimed that microbial agents could behave as cores of micro droplets, and that this property enhanced the propagation of diseases through air. This theory and his studies on the dynamics of epidemics led him to improve the methods of epidemiology, by showing that various parameters, among which but not exclusively the pathogenic properties of the microbial agents themselves, had to be taken into account in order to understand the course of an epidemic, its seriousness and extension. His theory’s success, his technical skills and devices, and his researches regarding the weaponization of biological and chemical agents before and during World War I, led Trillat to play a founding role, after the war, in the creation and development of the first French State program for biological and chemical weapons. Auguste Trillat is exemplary of the early XXth century interconnection between science, engineering and modern warfare, as his role was jointly political and scientific. Through an historical account of his works, we will address the consequences of this dual role on his scientific and political career.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Nov 2015, San Francisco, United States. 2015, 〈http://hssonline.org/meetings/2015-hss-annual-meeting/〉
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01235283
Contributeur : Etienne Aucouturier <>
Soumis le : samedi 5 décembre 2015 - 17:58:16
Dernière modification le : mercredi 4 juillet 2018 - 16:35:21

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  • HAL Id : hal-01235283, version 1

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Etienne Aucouturier. Auguste Trillat and the foundations of the French biological and chemical weapons program. History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Nov 2015, San Francisco, United States. 2015, 〈http://hssonline.org/meetings/2015-hss-annual-meeting/〉. 〈hal-01235283〉

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