(3) Louis Pasteur vs. (14) John Hodgman

Tournament of Genius

(3) Louis Pasteur

Pasteur was microbiology's one-man wrecking crew. Pasteur's experiments proved once and for all that microbes cause fermentation and disease, but he didn't content himself with settling that debate. Pasteur then set about killing off these microorganisms and came up with early vaccines for rabies and anthrax, in addition to coming up with the idea of heating beer, wine, and milk to an elevated temperature to kill off microbial baddies, a process you know as pasteurization. The next time you enjoy a bowl of cereal or a cold beer, raise a glass to Pasteur.

(14) John Hodgman

Former literary agent and current Mac pitchman Hodgman has knowledge that no one else in the world can access. Sure, it's because Hodgman makes his facts up, but that doesn't make them any less entertaining. Hodgman's texts can tell you which presidents had hooks for hands, detail the secret lives of hobos, and fill you in on the importance of eels. Hodgman's writing proves that an interesting fabrication is almost always more interesting than the truth.

The Breakdown

On its surface, this matchup looks like an easy blowout for Pasteur, whose innovations have saved countless lives. On the other hand, who knows what Hodgman can tell us about Pasteur? Maybe the "French microbiologist" was really the front man for an international cabal of roving chicken thieves who drank "microbial broth" to get their ungodly powers. When Hodgman's involved, you never know what revelation will come to light next, so it's tough to take anything for granted.


[See the whole bracket here.]