aboutspacecollectionsspaceexhibitsspacemilestonesspacepressspace
antibiotics
bph
catheterization
chemotherapy
cystoscopy
ht
imaging
incontinence
infertility
prostatectomy
psa
sd
stonedisease
Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.

But it wasn't until veteran World War I battlefield doctor and scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin that physicians had a truly effective weapon against infectious disease. The chance contamination of a petri dish in Fleming's laboratory revolutionized medicine. After recognizing the antibacterial potential of penicillium notatum in 1928, Fleming published his findings in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology. Though the research was groundbreaking, mass production and purification of the compound was difficult, and research slow. It would take a second world war, two Oxford pathologists and American drug companies to make penicillin available to the masses.

Meanwhile, in 1932, German microbiologist Gerhard Domagk was earning his 1939 Nobel Prize. Domagk's discovery that prontosil rubrum, a derivative of sulphanilamide, was effective against lethal doses of staphylococci and haemolytic streptococci established sulfa drugs as the first synthetic antibacterials.

Stamps commemorating 50th anniversary of the discovery of penicillin.  Courtesy of Erwin Rugendorff, MD
BACK       page -- 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4       NEXT
sitemap acknowledgements termsofuse privacypolicy disclaimers