Alexander Fleming

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Alexander Fleming bigraphy, stories - Scottish scientist

Alexander Fleming : biography

6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955

Sir Alexander Fleming, FRSE, FRS, FRCS(Eng) (6 August 188111 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist. He wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain.

In 1999, Time magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating:

Honours, awards and achievements

His discovery of penicillin had 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 and 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.

  • Fleming, Florey and Chain jointly received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945. According to the rules of the Nobel committee a maximum of three people may share the prize. Fleming’s Nobel Prize medal was acquired by the National Museums of Scotland in 1989 and is on display after the museum re-opened in 2011.
  • Fleming was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
  • Fleming was awarded the Hunterian Professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Fleming was knighted, as a Knight Bachelor, by king George VI in 1944."People of the century". P. 78. CBS News. Simon & Schuster, 1999
  • In 1999, Time Magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century.
  • When 2000 was approaching, at least three large Swedish magazines ranked penicillin as the most important discovery of the millennium.
  • In 2002, Fleming was named in the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a nationwide vote.. Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 August 2012
  • A statue of Alexander Fleming stands outside the main bullring in Madrid, Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas.Edward Lewine (2007). "Death and the Sun: A Matador’s Season in the Heart of Spain". p. 123. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007 It was erected by subscription from grateful matadors, as penicillin greatly reduced the number of deaths in the bullring.
  • Flemingovo náměstí is a square named after Fleming in the university area of the Dejvice community in Prague.
  • In mid-2009, Fleming was commemorated on a new series of banknotes issued by the Clydesdale Bank; his image appears on the new issue of £5 notes.
  • 91006 Fleming, an asteroid in the Asteroid Belt, is named after Fleming.

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 farmer 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 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 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 Medical School in Paddington. He qualified MBBS from the school with distinction in 1906.