Sir Alexander Fleming and Mr Suchet, 1943.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of Profesor Alexander Fleming [1881-1955] and colleagues at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, taken by James Jarche for 'Illustrated' magazine in 1943. Fleming is showing a petrie dish of penicillin mould to Mr Suchet, a gynaecologist, and another doctor. Working as a doctor and researcher at St Mary's, Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin in 1929. He succesfully isolated the chemical from the mould Penicillium notatum, but could not purify the compound. During the Second World War two British scientists, Sir Howard Walter Florey [1898-1968] and Ernst Boris Chain [1906-1979], developed a means of producing penicillin on an industrial scale. Together with Alexander Fleming they shared the Nobel Prize in 1945. Their work on producing a 'wonder drug' saved millions of lives.