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  9. Alexander Fleming - Wikipedia

    en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Alexander_Fleming
    • Early Life and Education
    • Scientific Contributions
    • Personal Life
    • Death
    • Awards and Legacy
    • Myths
    • Further Reading
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    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...

    Antiseptics

    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 Churchills

    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, 1964
    An 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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