By Tim Lambert
Alexander Fleming was the man who discovered penicillin. He was born in Lochfield, Ayreshire, Scotland on 6 August 1881. He went to Kilmarnock Academy. However Alexander Fleming moved to London. He worked as a shipping clerk for a time then when a relative left him some money he went to study medicine at St Mary's Medical School at the University of London. When he qualified Alexander Fleming became an assistant bacteriologist.
During the First World War Alexander Fleming served as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps. On his release in 1918 he returned to St Mary's. Alexander Fleming became a lecturer in Bacteriology.
During the 1920s Alexander Fleming carried out numerous experiments. In 1928 while doing research into influenza Fleming was growing a culture of staphylococcus germs on a plate. By accident mold started growing on the plate and Fleming noticed that the germs around the mold were killed. Alexander Fleming made a liquid mold culture he called penicillin and in 1929 he published his findings in the Journal of Experimental Pathology.
In 1943 Alexander Fleming was made a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1944 he was knighted.
However a way had to be found to turn the mold into a pure drug. In 1940 Ernst Chain and Howard Florey succeeded in doing this. Mass production began in 1943.
In 1945 Alexander Fleming was given the Nobel Prize for medicine along with Howard Walter Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. Alexander Fleming died in London on 11 March 1955.
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