How Alexander Fleming Discovered Penicillin

Sir Alexander Fleming is a scientific hero of mind. Brave, curious, observant. And he saved my life.

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About the Author
Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג
I'm a writer, scientist, musician, inventor and lecturer. During the daytime I am advisor to the President of Shenkar College, a job I love. I write children's books, satire, and…
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How Alexander Fleming Discovered Penicillin

by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג








Copyright © 2017

1928 was a year that changed the world. Yes, it’s true that in 1928, Mickey Mouse’s first movie with sound, “The Steamboat”, appeared. But this story is about something else. It’s about the discovery of antibiotics. The discovery of penicillin in particular.

 

 

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It was September 28, 1928. So the story goes.  On that day Dr. Alexander Fleming came back from his vacation and took a look at his petri dishes. One of the dishes, with colonies of staphylococcus which he studied, was contaminated by a colony (perhaps several, I wasn’t there) of Penicillium. Penicillium is a common fungus which grows on fruits – we all recognize it.

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Artwork from the book - How Alexander Fleming Discovered Penicillin by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com

There were no staphylococci colonies growing adjacent to the fungus. “Could the fungus be secreting something that kills or maims the bacteria?” he must have asked himself. That was the beginning of the antibiotic era. It took fifteen more years before penicilin became a medical product for American soldiers during World War Two.  And a few years more before it became a prescription drug which saved the lives of so many million people. Including me.

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Artwork from the book - How Alexander Fleming Discovered Penicillin by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com

In 1952, I was a critically ill infant in the Winnipeg General Hospital. The doctors told my parents that I would either make it through the night. Or not. I did. Penicillin saved my life.

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Dr. Alexander Fleming had what Louis Pasteur called a “well prepared mind”. After all, he had discovered lysozyme, an enzyme which kills certain bacteria a few years prior. He was ‘prepped and primed’ for this discovery. He was on the lookout for it. He was curious and observant. A true discoverer.

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Fleming was not a ‘tidy scientist’. Many inventors are just a bit ‘sloppy’. This lets chance occurrences happen. Just like the chance growth of Penicillin on his petri dishes. Back in 1928.

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Artwork from the book - How Alexander Fleming Discovered Penicillin by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com

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