Profesor Fleming, Scottish bacteriologist, in his laboratory, 1943.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) taken by James Jarche for 'Illustrated' magazine. The petrie dishes on the desk contain Penicillium notatum mould. Next to them, mounted on discs of black card, are specimens of the mould being tested with other drugs. Working as a doctor and researcher at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin in 1928. He succesfully isolated the chemical from the mould Penicillium notatum, but could not purify the compound. During WW2 Sir Howard Walter Florey and Ernst Boris Chain 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.