Alexander Fleming

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Sir Alexander Fleming (6 August, 1881 – 11 March, 1955) was a Scottish biologist and pharmacologist. He wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy. His best-known discoveries are the discovery of the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mold Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Chain.[1]

In 1999, Time Magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century for his discovery[2] of penicillin, and stated:

Contents

Biography

Early life

Fleming was born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield, a farm near Darvel in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the third of the four children of Hugh Fleming (1816–1888) from his second marriage to 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, and died when Alexander (known as Alec) was seven.

Fleming went to Loudoun Moor School and Darvel School, and though the two before were modest schools at best, earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution.[4] After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His elder brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to his younger sibling that he follow the same career, and so in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London. He qualified for the school with distinction in 1906 and had the option of becoming a surgeon.

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