Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin (1928)
Penicillin was actually discovered by accident! In 1928, Alexander Fleming returned to his laboratory from a family holiday in Suffolk to discover that a mould had formed over a petri dish of Staphylococcus bacteria. Upon further inspection, Fleming discovered that the area around this mould was not growing, suggesting that the mould was somehow inhibiting the growth of further bacteria. Instantly aware of the implications for disease prevention this mould represented, the scientist presented his groundbreaking findings to Medical Research Club, which seemed largely uninterested in the discovery! Spurred on by this rejection, Fleming enlisted some of the greatest scientific minds to purify penicillin to its drug form. Unfortunately, these attempts were unsuccessful and seen as impossible. However, ten years later, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain rediscovered Fleming’s research and started ‘The Penicillin Project’ which was ultimately able to isolate the drug and prove that it could help the human body actively resist the spread of disease!
Learn more about the discovery of penicillin and medical advances with these activities!