Fact File about the Invention of Penicillin: Invention: Penicillin *** Date of Invention: 1928 *** Name of Inventor: Alexander Fleming *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1881 - 1955 *** Nationality of Inventor: Scottish *** Historical Period: Interwar (1918 - 1939) *** Category:
Medicine *** Country of Origin: Scotland *** Facts about the Inventor, Alexander Fleming, and the invention of
Fact 1: Who invented Penicillin? Penicillin was invented by Alexander Fleming in 1928 during the Interwar Era of inventions (1918 - 1939) which was a tremendous addition to advancements made in the area of Medicine.
Fact 2: Who invented Penicillin? Prior to the discovery of Penicillin in
1928, there were no drugs to treat infections caused by bacteria such as
pneumonia, respiratory tract infections, ear infections, urinary tract
infections and skin infections. The invention of Penicillin saved millions of
Fact 3: Who invented Penicillin? The inventor of Penicillin, Alexander Fleming, was born on August 6, 1881 in Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland, UK and died on March 11, 1955.
Fact 4: Who invented Penicillin? The early years of Alexander Fleming were spent
at Lochfield farm in Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland, UK where he was raised by his
father Hugh Fleming and his mother Grace Sirling Monton together with the family
of four children. Alexander Fleming was educated at Loudoun Moor School, the
Darvel School, and the Kimarnock Academy.
Fact 5: Who invented Penicillin? Following his early education his first job was
in 1900 as a Private in the London Scottish Regiment. Then in 1903 Alexander
Fleming enrolled in St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington.
Fact 6: Who invented Penicillin? Following his graduation Alexander
Fleming joined the research department at St. Mary's to work as a temporary
assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright (1861 - 1947) a pioneer in
vaccine therapy and immunology.
Fact 7: Who invented Penicillin? Alexander Fleming had every intention of
becoming a surgeon but Sir Almroth Wright's revolutionary ideas of vaccine
therapy inspired him to enter the field of Bacteriology. Bacteriology is the
branch of medical science that studies bacteria in relation to disease.
Fact 8: Who invented Penicillin? WW1 (1914 - 1918) erupted and Alexander
Fleming served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The terrible wound infections
suffered by so many soldiers were commonly treated with antiseptics but Fleming
soon realized that the antiseptics were doing more harm than good due to their
diminishing effects on the body's immunity agents.
Fact 9: Who invented Penicillin? More soldiers were dying from
their treatment than from the infections and bacteria than the antiseptics were
trying to destroy. Infected wounds also led to amputations because the
antiseptics did not work. Alexander Fleming recommended that treatment using
antiseptics should be replaced simply by keeping the infected wounds clean, but
his advice was largely ignored.
Fact 10: Who invented Penicillin? During the Great War Alexander Fleming
he took leave from working in the battlefield hospitals of Boulogne, France and
married Nurse Sarah Marion McElroy of Ireland on December 23, 1915. The couple
had one son they named Robert.
Fact 11: Who invented Penicillin? After the war, Alexander Fleming
returned to St. Mary's and focused his researchon anti-bacterial agents after
witnessing so many amputations and deaths from infection during the war.
Fact 12: Who invented Penicillin? In 1921 Alexander Fleming discovered
and proved the natural antiseptic power of the enzyme he called 'lysozyme'.
Fleming found that the substance lysozyme was present in the tissues and
secretions of the body, and was capable of rapidly dissolving certain bacteria.
Fact 13: Who invented Penicillin? Encouraged by the discovery of lysozyme
Alexander Fleming continued his research into identifying other anti-bacterial
agents. In August 1928 he left his lab and went on holiday with his wife and
young son. Before leaving, he had stacked all his cultures of staphylococci (staph
infections) on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. Staph bacteria can cause a
wide range of infections of the skin, blood, lungs and heart.
Fact 14: Who invented Penicillin? On returning from his vacation Fleming
noticed that one culture of staphylococci was contaminated with a fungus, and
that the Staph bacteria immediately surrounding the fungus had been destroyed.
It was September 28, 1928 and Alexander Fleming had accidentally discovered the
world's first antibiotic.
Fact 15: Who invented Penicillin? The mold he accidentally developed
created a bacteria-free circle around itself - he first called it 'mold juice'
but on March 7, 1929 renamed it "penicillin" from the Latin penicillus meaning
"paintbrush" in reference to the shape of the mould cells. His discovery of
penicillin was published in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology but
his findings were largely ignored.
Fact 16: Who invented Penicillin? In 1940, a team based at at the
Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, which included Howard Florey, Ernst Chain and
Norman Heatley, continue Fleming's research and were successful in purifying
penicillin. The team also developed a way to mass produce penicillin which
aroused the interest of Pharmaceutical companies. The commercial production of
penicillin as an antibiotic began.
Fact 17: Who invented Penicillin? The invention of Penicillin was
recognized as a great advance in medicine and in 1943 Alexander Fleming was
elected Fellow of the Royal Society and knighted in 1944.
Fact 18: Who invented Penicillin? In 1945 Sir Alexander Fleming together
with Howard Florey and Ernst Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Fact 19: Who invented Penicillin? Sir Alexander Fleming became famous but
his fame was overshadowed by the death of his wife Sarah in 1949 after 34 years
Fact 20: Who invented Penicillin? In 1953, Sir Alexander Fleming found
happiness again when he married Greek research assistant at St. Mary's, Dr.
Amalia Voureka Coutsouris.
Fact 21: Who invented Penicillin? Sir Alexander Fleming died on March 11, 1955
of a heart attack. He was buried in the crypt at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
His epitaph reads "Sir Alexander Fleming discoverer of penicillin whose ashes
rest beneath this plaque".