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Sir Alexander Fleming M.B., B.S.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1945
Co-Nobelists: Ernst B. Chain, Sir Howard Florey

Physician - Bacteriologist, Immunologist. While researching Influenza virus, made ground breaking discovery: penicillin, by not neglecting chance observation - mould contaminating culture plate. WWI caused interest in Antiseptics. WWII, production cost was immaterial. Destiny.

Lone worker gets idea; details developed by team, but prime idea is due to enterprise, thought, perception of an individual.


Destiny may play a large part in discovery. It was destiny which contaminated my culture plate in 1928 - it was destiny which led Chain and Florey in 1938 to investigate penicillin instead of the many other antibiotics which had then been described and it was destiny that timed their work to come to fruition in war-time when penicillin was most needed.

It may be that while we think we are masters of the situation we are merely pawns being moved about on the board of life by some superior power.

Painting Tim Tompkins - PaintHistory.com

Name: Sir Alexander Fleming
Birth: 6 August 1881, Lochfield, Scotland
Death: 11 March 1955, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: London University, London, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases"
Field: anti-bacterial agents, bacteriology, biochemistry
Prize share: 1/3
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