Tubes of penicillin, c 1950s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
32 tubes of penicillin with list of contents in a wooden case, made by Borroughs Wellcome & Co, UK. In 1928 Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered the bacteria-killing properties of a substance made by the mould Penicillium, which he named penicillin. The Australian pathologist, Howard Florey (1898-1968), developed large-scale penicillin production for use in World War II. Fleming, Florey and Ernest Chain (1906-1979), a fellow member of the Oxford University research team, shared the 1945 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their contributions to the discovery and development of penicillin.