Understanding the Revolutionary Germ Theory

When the germ theory of infectious disease is discussed today, it is almost second nature and obvious. Indeed when a new syndrome appears, everyone assumes it will turn out to be the result of an infection with some sort of microbe. 

However just like gravity, the heliocentric solar system, and evolution by means of natural selection, the germ theory of disease had a rocky start and was opposed by virtually everyone at its inception.

What I've always wanted to read was a history of the development of this theory that presents each of the major steps forward in an easily integratabtle format. While many people have some idea of the role of those such as Pasteur, Koch, Lister, Semmelweis, and others, many do not understand how their findings integrate and their relative chronology. Dr. Robert Gaynes ably fills this gap with his book Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Disease

The book provides vignettes of all the major figures who had a hand in the path to the germ theory. Dr. Gaynes expertly shows how each discovery built on the prior and led to the next, essential for truly grasping how science advances in any of its branches.

I think the next step in furthering this line of inquiry is to draw attention to the deductive and inductive methods used by these brilliant minds. Such an analysis would highlight important cognitive principles and habits useful in all realms of human endeavor (an aspiration of mine).

Understanding of how an earlier revolution in medicine (the germ theory) occurred is crucial to understanding how the next--which will encompass data analytics, systems biology, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology--will occur.