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People Who Changed The World : Sir Alexander Fleming

August 05, 2022    7 min read

Inventions have helped us lead longer, healthier and convenient lives. While we often talk about wonderful innovation and discoveries done in the world of technology, let's not forget those who have taken remarkable strides in restoring health through the power of science. Today, we’ll learn more about a Scottish physician and microbiologist, Sir Alexander Fleming. Born on 6th August, 1881, he is one of the most prominent names in the world of science and medicine.

He gave the world its first penicillin, one of the most popular antibiotics known to man. These medicines turned out to be a boon when the world was battling influenza and later paved the way for science to create more antibiotics that now help us in fighting diseases.

Right from his younger days, Mr. Fleming was extremely passionate about science and medicine. He completed his M.B.B.S. in the city of London with a gold medal. He worked with the army to lend his expertise. Throughout his career his interest in understanding bacterial infections only grew stronger. He dived deeper into the subject and wanted to understand how he could best equip people with a cure for their pressing diseases or recurring infections that caused cold and cough.

His discovery of penicillin happened by chance. It was one of the accidental discoveries that changed the course of recovery for many. In 1928, while trying to understand influenza virus, he observed that mould had developed accidently on one of the culture plates in his lab and that the mould in itself had created a bacteria-free circle around itself; basically it was protecting itself. He was inspired to further experiment and he found that a mould culture prevented growth of bacteria, even when diluted many times. He named this active substance penicillin. He knew that this would change the course of all discoveries and progress made by far. After conducting several experiments and trials it was confirmed that penicillin was able to successfully cure viruses with minimal side effects that could be managed with care.

He earned knighthood and several accolades post his discovery. It is important to note that he never gave up on researching deeper and finding out more about the different viruses and diseases affecting people. He wrote numerous papers on bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy.

Even though Sir Alexander Fleming passed away years ago, his legacy lives on. His curiosity, perseverance and the willingness to learn from his environment got him to make remarkable discoveries.

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