If you ask people today who Alexandre Yersin was, hardly anyone will know his name, and yet the Swiss-born researcher was an outstanding personality whose life reads like an adventure novel. Alexandre Yersin was a bacteriologist, physician, explorer, adventurer, ethnologist, mariner, farmer, geographer and astronomer. In short, he was a restless seeker with an irrepressible curiosity and blessed with an extraordinary intelligence, who had dedicated his life to science.
As the plague raged in Hong Kong in 1894, France sent Dr. Yersin, the pupil of Louis Pasteur, to study the pandemic locally. Only 31 years old, Yersin discovered, in just three weeks, the bacillus causing the plague, and was able to isolate it. The discovery of the plague bacteria established his worldwide fame in the scientific community. The bacillus was named after him: Yersinia pestis.