30/09/2017
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Sir Alexander Fleming announced the discovery of penicillin - On this day in Scottish history

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Sir Alexander Fleming announced the discovery of penicillin on 30 September 1928. Ayrshire-born Fleming discovered that Penicillium notatum (a type of mould) slowed down the growth of bacteria and realised the potential of this discovery for the future of medicine. Fleming's discovery came about by accident, after he left a pile of samples in his laboratory before setting off on holiday for a month.

Despite his findings, it would be twelve more years before a full-scale production method was created for penicillin - by the scientists Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. All three men were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945 for their work in creating the world's first antibiotic.

Timeline

6 August 1881 - Alexander Fleming is born in Darvel, Ayrshire

1903 - Fleming qualifies for St Mary's Hospital Medical School

1928 - Fleming is elected Professor of Bacteriaology

30 September 1928 - The discovery of penicillin is announced to the world

1945 - Fleming is awarded the Nobel Prize

11 March 1955 - Fleming dies at the age of 73 and is buried at St Paul's Cathedral.

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