April 20, 1862. French chemist Louis Pasteur (pictured), along with Claude Bernard, completes the world’s first pasteurisation test. Pasteurisation involves heating food or drink to a specific temperature for a certain period of time before cooling it. Originally the process was intended as a way of stopping beer and wine from going sour. Today milk and fruit juice are among the many foodstuffs that have a much longer shelf-life thanks to pasteurisation, which has helped to significantly reduce cases of diptheria, scarlet fever and typhoid among other diseases.
Also on April 20: Fenway Park baseball stadium opens in Boston (1912); Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails (1961); Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech (1968); The Colombine High School massacre in Colorado (1999).
Born on April 20: Joan Miró (1893), Jessica Lange (1949), Sebastian Faulks (1953)
Back in the Day: Pasteur makes a name for himself