Portrait of Sir Alexander Fleming

Portrait of Sir Alexander Fleming

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This image is part of the feature Accidental Discoveries

Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), Nobel laureate and discoverer of penicillin. Fleming studied medicine at St.Mary's, London, as a result of a small legacy. He made his famous discovery in 1928 whilst studying an enzyme called lysozyme. Fleming had left a culture dish of Staphylococci sp. uncovered and it became contaminated with an airborne mould. He noticed that the bacteria were killed near the mould, which he called Penicillin notatum. Later, others isolated a chemical from this that was bactericidal and non-toxic, called penicillin. It was not until WW2 that large-scale production started, but Fleming became a folk hero, winning a Nobel Prize in 1945.

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Keywords: 1945, alexander, bacteriologist, discoverer, fleming, nobel laureate, nobel prize, penicillin, physiology, portraits, recipient, surname f, winner

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