Profesor Fleming working in his laboratory, 1943.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of Profesor Alexander Fleming [1881-1955] working in his laboratory, taken by James Jarche for 'Illustrated'. The petrie dishes on the desk and the one he is holding 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 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 Fleming they shared the Nobel Prize in 1945. Their work on producing a 'wonder drug' saved millions of lives.