Alexander Fleming, St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, 1945.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of Profesor Alexander Fleming [1881-1955] in his laboratory with Mr Suchet, a gynaecologist, taken by James Jarche for 'Illustrated magazine' in 1945. Fleming holds a specimen of penicillin mould being tested with other drugs. Working as a doctor and researcher at St Mary's, 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 Flemming they shared the Nobel Prize in 1945. Their work on producing a 'wonder drug' saved millions of lives.