Alexander lived in the home of his elder brother, Tom, who was a doctor of medicine. Most of the Fleming family ended up living with Tom, leaving the eldest brother, Hugh, running the farm. Alexander attended the Polytechnic School, where he studied business and commerce.
- Early Life and Education
- Scientific Contributions
- Personal Life
- Awards and Legacy
- Further Reading
- External Links
Born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield farm near Darvel, in Ayrshire, Scotland, Alexander Fleming was the third of four children of farmer Hugh Fleming (1816–1888) and Grace Stirling Morton (1848–1928), the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Hugh Fleming had four surviving children from his first marriage. He was 59 at the time of his second marriage to Grace, and died when Alexander was seven. Fleming went to Loudoun Moor School and Darvel School, and earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London, where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution. After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Alexander Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His elder brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to him that he should follow the same career, and so in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington; he qualified with an MBBSdegree from the school with distinction in...
During World War I, Fleming with Leonard Colebrook and Sir Almroth Wright joined the war efforts and practically moved the entire Inoculation Department of St Mary's to the British military hospital at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Serving as Temporary Lieutenant of the Royal Army Medical Corps, he witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds. Antiseptics, which were used at the time to treat infected wounds, he observed, often worsened the injuries. In an article publi...
Discovery of lysozyme
At St Mary's Hospital, Fleming continued his investigations into bacteria culture and antibacterial substances. As his research scholar at the time V.D. Allison recalled, Fleming was not a tidy researcher and usually expected unusual bacterial growths in his culture plates. Fleming had teased Allison of his "excessive tidiness in the laboratory," and Allison rightly attributed such untidiness as the success of Fleming's experiments, and said, "[If] he had been as tidy as he thought I was, he...
On 24 December 1915, Fleming married a trained nurse, Sarah Marion McElroy of Killala, County Mayo, Ireland. Their only child, Robert Fleming (1924–2015), became a general medical practitioner. After his first wife's death in 1949, Fleming married Amalia Koutsouri-Vourekas, a Greekcolleague at St. Mary's, on 9 April 1953; she died in 1986. Fleming came from a Presbyterian background, while his first wife Sarah was a (lapsed) Roman Catholic. It is said that he was not particularly religious, and their son Robert was later received into the Anglican church, while still reportedly inheriting his two parents' fairly irreligious disposition. When Fleming learned of Robert D. Coghill and Andrew J. Moyer patenting the method of penicillin production in US in 1944,he was furious, and commented: From 1921 until his death in 1955, Fleming owned a country home named "The Dhoon" in Barton Mills, Suffolk.
On 11 March 1955, Fleming died at his home in London of a heart attack. His ashes are buried in St Paul's Cathedral.
Fleming's discovery of penicillin changed the world of modern medicine by introducing the age of useful antibiotics; penicillin has saved, and is still saving, millions of people around the world. The laboratory at St Mary's Hospital where Fleming discovered penicillin is home to the Fleming Museum, a popular London attraction. His alma mater, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, merged with Imperial College London in 1988. The Sir Alexander Fleming Building on the South Kensington campus was opened in 1998, where his son Robert and his great granddaughter Claire were presented to the Queen; it is now one of the main preclinical teaching sites of the Imperial College School of Medicine. His other alma mater, the Royal Polytechnic Institution (now the University of Westminster) has named one of its student halls of residence Alexander Fleming House, which is near to Old Street. The Fleming crater on the moon is named after Alexander and Williamina Fleming.
The Fleming myth
By 1942, penicillin was produced as pure compound, but still in short supply and not available for clinical use. When Fleming used the first few samples from the Oxford team to treat Harry Lambert who had streptococcal meningitis, the successful treatment was a major news, particularly popularised in The Times. But Wright was a bit surprised as the discoverers Fleming and the Oxford team were not mentioned, though Oxford was attributed as the source of the drug. Wright wrote a letter to the e...
The popular story of Winston Churchill's father paying for Fleming's education after Fleming's father saved young Winston from death is false. According to the biography, Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution by Kevin Brown, Alexander Fleming, in a letter to his friend and colleague Andre Gratia, described this as "A wondrous fable." Nor did he save Winston Churchill himself during World War II. Churchill was saved by Lord Moran, using sulphonamides, since he had no...The Life Of Sir Alexander Fleming, Jonathan Cape, 1959. Maurois, André.Nobel Lectures, the Physiology or Medicine 1942–1962, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1964An Outline History of Medicine. London: Butterworths, 1985. Rhodes, Philip.The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Porter, Roy, ed.
Media related to Alexander Flemingat Wikimedia Commons 1. Alexander Fleming Obituary 2. Alexander Fleming on Nobelprize.org including the Nobel Lecture, 11 December 1945 Penicillin 3. Some places and memories related to Alexander Fleming 4. Newspaper clippings about Alexander Fleming in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Seminal research on tickborne diseases of humans in North America began more than a century ago with the discovery in 1906 that an illness locally called black measles, which affected persons in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, USA, resulted from the bite of a bacteria-infected Rocky Mountain wood tick (1,2).
- Joshua Christensen, Robert J. Fischer, Brandi N. McCoy, Sandra J. Raffel, Tom G. Schwan
CONTENTS KENTUCKY ANCESTORS GENEALOGICAL QUARTERLY OF THE KENTUCKY HISTORICAL SOCIETY Listed below are the contents of Kentucky Ancestors from the first issue in 1965 to the current issue in a searchable PDF format.
- Early History
- Early Scientific Evidence
- The Breakthrough Discovery
- First Medical Use
- Mass Production
- Chemical Analysis
- Development of Penicillin-Derivatives
- Drug Resistance
Many ancient cultures, including those in Egypt, Greece and India, independently discovered the useful properties of fungi and plants in treating infection. These treatments often worked because many organisms, including many species of mould, naturally produce antibioticsubstances. However, ancient practitioners could not precisely identify or isolate the active components in these organisms. In 17th-century Poland, wet bread was mixed with spider webs (which often contained fungal spores) to treat wounds. The technique was mentioned by Henryk Sienkiewicz in his 1884 book With Fire and Sword. In England in 1640, the idea of using mould as a form of medical treatment was recorded by apothecaries such as John Parkinson, King's Herbarian, who advocated the use of mould in his book on pharmacology.
1. In the early stages of penicillin research, most species of Penicillium were generally referred to as Penicillium glaucum, so we cannot identify the actual strains used. Thus, it is difficult to tell whether it was really penicillin preventing bacterial growth.
Penicillin was discovered by a Scottish physician Alexander Fleming in 1928. While working at St Mary's Hospital, London, Fleming was investigating the pattern of variation in S. aureus. He was inspired by the discovery of an Irish physician Joseph Warwick Bigger and his two students C.R. Boland and R.A.Q. O’meara at the Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, in 1927. Bigger and his students found that when they cultured a particular strain of S. aureus, which they designated "Y" that they isolate...
In August, Fleming spent a vacation with his family at his country home The Dhoon at Barton Mills, Suffolk. Before leaving his laboratory, he inoculated several culture plates with S. aureus. He kept the plates aside on one corner of the table away from direct sunlight and to make space for Craddock to work in his absence. While in a vacation, he was appointed Professor of Bacteriology at the St Mary's Hospital Medical School on 1 September 1928. He arrived at his laboratory on 3 September, w...
Fleming went off to resume his vacation and returned for the experiments late in September.He collected the original mould and grew them in culture plates. After four days he found that the plates developed large colonies of the mould. He repeated the experiment with the same bacteria-killing results. He later recounted his experience: He concluded that the mould was releasing a substance that was inhibiting bacterial growth, and he produced culture broth of the mould and subsequently concent...
In 1939, Ernst Boris Chain, a German (later naturalised British) chemist, joined the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford to investigate on antibiotics. He was immediately impressed by Fleming's 1929 paper and informed his supervisor an Australian scientist Howard Florey (later Baron Florey) of the potential drug. By then Florey had acquired research grant of $25,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation for studying antibiotics. He assembled a research team including Edward Abraham, Arthur Duncan Gardner, Norman Heatley, Margaret Jennings, J. Orr-Ewing and G. Sanders in addition to Chain. The Oxford team prepared a concentrated extract of P. rubens as "a brown powder" that "has been obtained which is freely soluble in water". They found that the powder was not only effective in vitro against bacterial cultures but also and in vivo against bacterial infection in mice. On 5 May 1939, they injected a group of eight mice with a virulent strain of S. aureus and inj...
Fleming performed the first clinical trial with penicillin on Craddock. Craddock had developed severe infection of the nasal antrum (sinusitis) and had undergone surgery. Fleming made use of the surgical opening of the nasal passage and started injecting penicillin on 9 January 1929 but without any effect. It probably was due to the fact that the infection was with influenza bacillus (Haemophilus influenzae), the bacterium which he had found unsusceptible to penicillin. Fleming gave some of his original penicillin samples to his colleague-surgeon Arthur Dickson Wright for clinical test in 1928. Although Wright reportedly said that it "seemed to work satisfactorily,"there are no records of its specific use. Cecil George Paine, a pathologist at the Royal Infirmary in Sheffield, was the first to successfully use penicillin for medical treatment. He was a former student of Fleming and when he learned of the discovery, asked the penicillin sample from Fleming. He initially attempted to t...
Knowing that large-scale production for medical use was futile in a confined laboratory, the Oxford team tried to convince war-torn British government and private companies for mass production but in vain. Florey and Heatley travelled to the US in June 1941 to persuade US government and pharmaceutical companies there. Knowing that keeping the mould sample in vials could be easily lost, they instead smeared their coat pockets with the mould. They arrived in Washington D.C. in early July to discuss with Ross Granville Harrison, chairman of the National Research Council (NRC), and Charles Thom and Percy Wells of the United States Department of Agriculture. They were directed to approach the USDA Northern Regional Research Laboratory (NRRL, now the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research) where large-scale fermentations were done. They reached Peoria, Illinois, on 14 July to meet Andrew Jackson Moyer and Robert D. Coghill at the NRRL. The Americans quickly worked on the mo...
The chemical structure of penicillin was first proposed by Edward Abraham in 1942. Dorothy Hodgkin determined the correct chemical structure of penicillin using X-ray crystallography at Oxford in 1945. In 1945, the US Committee on Medical Research and the British Medical Research Council jointly published in Science a chemical analyses done at different universities, pharmaceutical companies and government research departments. The report announced the existence of different forms of penicillin compounds which all shared the same structural component called β-lactam.The penicillins were given various names such as using Roman numerals in UK (such as penicillin I, II, III) in order their discoveries and letters (such as F, G, K, and X) referring to their origins or sources, as below: The chemical names were based on the side chainsof the compounds. To avoid the controversial names, Chain introduced in 1948 the chemical names as standard nomenclature, remarking as: "To make the nomenc...
Fleming, Florey and Chain equally shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine"for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases." Methods for production and isolation of penicillin were patented by Andrew Jackson Moyer in US in 1945. Chain had wanted to file a patent, Florey and his teammates objected to it arguing that it should be a benefit for all. Sir Henry Dale specifically advised that doing so would be unethical.When Fleming learned of the American patents on penicillin production, he was infuriated and commented: Dorothy Hodgkin received the 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry"for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances."
The narrow range of treatable diseases or "spectrum of activity" of the penicillins, along with the poor activity of the orally active phenoxymethylpenicillin, led to the search for derivatives of penicillin that could treat a wider range of infections. The isolation of 6-APA, the nucleus of penicillin, allowed for the preparation of semisynthetic penicillins, with various improvements over benzylpenicillin (bioavailability, spectrum, stability, tolerance). The first major development was ampicillin in 1961. It was produced by Beecham Research Laboratories in London. It was more advantageous than the original penicillin as it offered a broader spectrum of activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Further development yielded β-lactamase-resistant penicillins, including flucloxacillin, dicloxacillin, and methicillin. These were significant for their activity against β-lactamase-producing bacterial species, but were ineffective against the methicillin-resistant Staphyl...
Fleming warned the possibility of penicillin resistance in clinical conditions in his Nobel Lecture, and said: In 1940, Ernst Chain and Edward Abraham reported the first indication of antibiotic resistance to penicillin, an E. coli strain that produced the penicillinase enzyme, which was capable of breaking down penicillin and completely negating its antibacterial effect. Chain and Abraham worked out the chemical nature of penicillinase which they reported in Natureas: In 1942, strains of Staphylococcus aureus had been documented to have developed a strong resistance to penicillin. Most of the strains were resistant to penicillin by the 1960s. In 1967, Streptococcus pneumoniaewas also reported to be penicillin resistant. Many strains of bacteria have eventually developed a resistance to penicillin.
May 28, 2013 · Alexander Fleming was born in Lochfield, Ayrshire (Scotland) on 6th August 1881. When he was twenty, Alexander started a course at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in Paddington, London. His brother, Tom, was also a doctor. After completing his medical degree, Fleming joined the research team at St Mary’s. He was the assistant to Sir Almroth Wright, a bacteriologist.
John Travolta is an award-winning actor who had breakout roles in 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Grease.' He had a career revival with 'Pulp Fiction' and has starred in a wide range of additional ...
American. Occupation. Physician, author. Thomas Anthony Dooley III (January 17, 1927 – January 18, 1961) was an American physician who worked in Southeast Asia at the outset of American involvement in the Vietnam War. While serving as a physician in the United States Navy and afterwards, he became known for his humanitarian and anti-communist ...
- Early Life
- Early Career
- Personal Life
- Posthumous Controversies
- Film Portrayals
- Other Cultural References
- Theatre Performances
Errol Leslie Flynn was born on 20 June 1909 in Battery Point, Tasmania. His father, Theodore Thomson Flynn, was a lecturer (1909) and later professor (1911) of biology at the University of Tasmania. His mother was born Lily Mary Young, but shortly after marrying Theodore at St John's Church of England, Birchgrove, Sydney, on 23 January 1909, she changed her first name to Marelle. Flynn described his mother's family as "seafaring folk" and this appears to be where his lifelong interest in boats and the sea originated. Both of his parents were Australian-born of Irish, English and Scottish descent. Despite Flynn's claims, the evidence indicates that he was not descended from any of the Bounty mutineers. Flynn received his early schooling in Hobart. He made one of his first appearances as a performer in 1918, aged nine, when he served as a page boy to Enid Lyons in a queen carnival. In her memoirs, Lyons recalled Flynn as "a dashing figure—a handsome boy of nine with a fearless, somewh...
In the Wake of the Bounty
Australian filmmaker Charles Chauvel was making a film about the mutiny on the Bounty, In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), a combination of dramatic re-enactments of the mutiny and a documentary on present-day Pitcairn Island. Chauvel was looking for someone to play the role of Fletcher Christian. There are different stories about the way Flynn was cast. According to one, Chauvel saw his picture in an article about a yacht wreck involving Flynn. The most popular account is that he was discovere...
Flynn got work as an extra in a film, I Adore You (1933), produced by Irving Asher for Warner Bros. He soon secured a job with the Northampton Repertory Company at the town's Royal Theatre (now part of Royal & Derngate), where he worked and received his training as a professional actor for seven months. Northampton is home to an art-house cinema that was named after him, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, from 2013 to 2019. He performed at the 1934 Malvern Festival and in Glasgow, and briefly in Lond...
On the ship from London, Flynn met (and eventually married) Lili Damita, an actress five years his senior whose contacts proved valuable when Flynn arrived in Los Angeles. Warner Bros. publicity described him as an "Irish leading man of the London stage." His first appearance was a small role in The Case of the Curious Bride (1935). Flynn had two scenes, one as a corpse and one in flashback. His next part was slightly bigger, in Don't Bet on Blondes (1935), a B-picture screwball comedy.
Flynn developed a reputation for womanising, hard drinking, chain smoking and, for a time in the 1940s, narcotics abuse. He was linked romantically with Lupe Vélez, Marlene Dietrich and Dolores del Río, among many others. Carole Lombard is said to have resisted his advances, but invited him to her extravagant parties. He was a regular attendee of William Randolph Hearst's equally lavish affairs at Hearst Castle, though he was once asked to leave after becoming excessively intoxicated. The exp...
Marriages and family
Flynn was married three times: to actress Lili Damita from 1935 until 1942 (one son, Sean Flynn, 1941 – c. April 1970); to Nora Eddington from 1943 to 1949 (two daughters, Deirdre, born 1945, and Rory, born 1947); and to actress Patrice Wymore from 1950 until his death (one daughter, Arnella Roma, 1953–1998). Errol is the grandfather to actor Sean Flynn (via Rory), who starred in the TV series Zoey 101. While Flynn acknowledged his personal attraction to Olivia de Havilland, assertions by fil...
By 1959, Flynn's financial difficulties had become so serious that he flew on 9 October to Vancouver, British Columbia, to negotiate the lease of his yacht Zaca to the businessman George Caldough. As Caldough was driving Flynn and the 17-year-old actress Beverly Aadland, who had accompanied him on the trip, to the airport on 14 October for a Los Angeles-bound flight, Flynn began complaining of severe pain in his back and legs. Caldough transported him to the residence of a doctor, Grant Gould, who noted that Flynn had considerable difficulty navigating the building's stairway. Gould, assuming that the pain was due to degenerative disc disease and spinal osteoarthritis, administered 50 milligrams of demerol intravenously. As Flynn's discomfort diminished, he "reminisced at great length about his past experiences" to those present. He refused a drink when offered it. Gould then performed a leg massage in the apartment's bedroom and advised Flynn to rest there before resuming his journ...
In a 1982 interview with Penthouse magazine, Ronald DeWolf, son of the author L. Ron Hubbard, said that his father's friendship with Flynn was so strong that Hubbard's family considered Flynn an adoptive father to DeWolf. He said that Flynn and his father engaged in illegal activities together, including drug smuggling and sexual acts with underage girls; but that Flynn never joined Scientology, Hubbard's religious group. Journalist George Seldes, who disliked Flynn intensely, wrote in his 1987 memoir that Flynn did not travel to Spain in 1937 to report on its civil war, as announced, or to deliver cash, medicine, supplies and food for the Republicansoldiers, as promised. His purpose, according to Seldes, was to perpetrate a hoax that he triggered by sending an "apparently harmless" telegram from Madrid to Paris. The following day, American newspapers published an erroneous report that Flynn had been killed at the Spanish front. "The next day he left Spain ... . There were no ambula...The character of Alan Swann, portrayed by Peter O'Toole in the 1982 film My Favorite Year, was based on Flynn.Duncan Regehr portrayed Flynn in a 1985 American TV film My Wicked, Wicked Ways, loosely based on Flynn's autobiography of the same title.The character of Neville Sinclaire (played by Timothy Dalton) in the 1991 film The Rocketeer is based on Flynn; the character's Nazi affiliations are based on Charles Higham's uncorroborated claims...Guy Pearce played Errol Flynn in the 1993 Australian film Flynn, which covers Flynn's youth and early manhood, ending before the start of his Hollywood career.In the 1950 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes short The Scarlet Pumpernickel, the character Daffy Duckrepeatedly references Errol Flynn, in one instance exclaiming after jumping out a window to mount his h...The 1965 Marvel Comics character Fandral, a companion of the Norse God Thor and a member of the Warriors Three, was based on the likeness of Flynn by co-creator Stan Lee. Actor Joshua Dallas, who p...Errol Flynn's life was the subject of the opera Flynn (1977–78) by British composer Judith Bingham. The score is titled: Music-theatre on the life and times of Errol Flynn, in three scenes, three s..."Errol" was the title of a 1981 hit pop song by the band Australian Crawl. It appeared on their album Sirocco, which was itself named after Flynn's yacht.Aadland, Florence. The Big Love. Los Angeles: Spurl Editions, 2018. ISBN 9781943679065.Flynn, Errol. My Wicked, Wicked Ways: the Autobiography of Errol Flynn. Intro. by Jeffrey Meyers. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2003. Rpt. of My Wicked, Wicked Ways. New York: G.P. Putnam's sons,...
Flynn appeared on stage in a number of performances, particularly early in his career: 1. The Thirteenth Chair– Dec 1933 – Northampton Rep 2. Jack and the Beanstalk– Dec 1933 – Northampton Rep 3. Sweet Lavender– January 1934 – Northampton Rep 4. Bulldog Drummond– January 1934 – Northampton Rep 5. A Doll's House– January 1934 – Northampton Rep 6. On the Spot– January 1934 – Northampton Rep 7. Pygmalion– January–February 1934 – Northampton Rep 8. Crime at Blossoms– February 1934 – Northampton Rep 9. Yellow Sands– February 1934 – Northampton Rep 10. The Grain of Mustard Seed– February 1934 – Northampton Rep 11. Seven Keys to Baldpate– March 1934 – Northampton Rep 12. Othello– March 1934 – Northampton Rep 13. The Green Bay Tree– March 1934 – Northampton Rep 14. The Fake– March 1934 – Northampton Rep 15. The Farmer's Wife– March–April 1934 – Northampton Rep 16. The Wind and the Rain– April 1934 – Northampton Rep 17. Sheppey– April 1934 – Northampton Rep 18. The Soul of Nicholas Snyders–...
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