Biography of Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming:

Date of birth:1881

Date of death:1955

Alexander Fleming

The life-saving medicine like antibiotics had not been discovered at the time of Dr.Alexander Fleming.Therefore many soldiers who were wounded in the first and second world war died due to their septic wounds.It was due to Dr.Fleming’s tireless work in this direction that he was finally able to discover the amazing life saving medicine Penicillin.He was awarded the Noble Prize for this discovery.

Dr.Fleming received his M.B.B.S degree with a distinction in 1908.The university therefore awarded him a Gold Medal.He became a lecturer at St.Mary’s Hospital,London.Dr.Fleming was elected for the post of  professor at the University of London in 1948.Later,Professor Fleming was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1943 and khighted in 1994.

Fleming served as president of the society for General Microbiology Later on he was made Rector of Edinsburgh University,he remained in this position until 1954.

As a young man,Fleming joined the London Scottish Regiment in 1900.During his service in the army,he had some horrifying experiences in World War I.Due to septic wounds many soldiers were dying in front of him,but he was not able to save their lives.Fleming therefore determined to find a possible cure for septic wounds,which was chiefly responsible for the deaths of many soldiers in the battle zone.Fleming got down to research work and discovered Penicillin by the serendipity.

Fleming was highly praised for the discovery of Penicillin,but it would not have been possible without the scientists Chain and the Flory’s co-operation .Due to Chain and Flory’s collective efforts the large scale production of Penicillin became possible as an effective drug.During World War-II an American company produced Penicillin in large quantities and supplied to every army camp.Fleming was knighted  in 1944 and the following year,1945,he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.


ALEXANDER FLEMING was born on August 6, 1881, at Lochfield Farm in Ayrshire , Scotland. He was the seventh child out of eight children.Fleming spent most of his childhood in the countryside.

Alexander in lab

Alexander in lab

His father named his young son, Alex. Alex was a charming boy, he was quiet and gentle. Alex had a few friends and enjoyed making up new stories to tell them.

At the age of five Alex was sent to attend a primary school which was 5kms away from his home. The school did not have many facilities for the student yet young Alex liked the way teacher taught there.

Mr. Fleming was not satisfied with Alex’s primary education, so when Alex grew older his father sent him to Danvel, the nearest town to Alex’s village. Alex received the perfect elementary education at Danvel,very different from his previous school.Nevertheless,Alex always praised his village school where he had elementary education.

Mr.Fleming did not have any fixed income from his farm.The income was very small and hardly enough to solve the hand-to-mouth problems of the family.But it was his dear son,Alex,who insisted his father should send him to London for higher education.When Mr.Fleming did not make any reply to Alex,one fine morning Alex quietly left home and made his way to London.

On his journey to London he was thinking all the way to about studying medicine and becoming a doctor.When Alex reached London he was amazed by the urban lifestyle.But he did not waste his time looking at the beauty of the city and the ways of life there as he had a very little amount of money at his disposal.

Tom Fleming,one of Alex’s brothers,was already living in London,but he had a big family to support and he was unable to assist Alex in his studies.But,even so,Tom Fleming promised to help if he could.Alex did not lose heart.He was determined to get a higher education in London University and become a doctor.

Alex decided to get some hard work to make enough money in order to pursue medical studies at the London University of Medical Sciences.So he kept himself busy working day and night in a shipping firm.He was also doing a lot of overtime work to earn extra money.

One day Alex received some very good news.One of his uncles had died and left Alexander a legacy of 250 pounds.This was a large sum of money and came at exactly the right time when Alex needed it so badly.Alex decided to begin his university education.

Alex began studying hard for an M.B.B.S degree.In the final year’s examination,he secured good marks and passed M.B.B.S in 1906.Alex wanted to be surgeon,but later he changed his mind and decided to be a bacteriologist.

While working at St.Mary’s Hospital,Alex met Miss Sarah Marion Mcelmay,a young Irish lady of great beauty and wit.At first Miss Sarah worked in a private nursing home,but later she opened her own private nursing home  in London.

Dr.Alex had a very quiet nature and spoke very little,and this attracted Miss Sarah ‘s attention.They become very good friends and later they married and settled in London.

Alex gave himself a tough schedule .He would work hard testing and evaluating various data  in the laboratory.

Doctor Alex joined the Red Cross Society in France and served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps.Because of the widespread epidemics and the massive casualties resulting from World War-I ,where so many people had died of disease or from their septic wounds caused by bacteria,the most serious problem for Alex was how to protect soldier’s  wound from bacteria infection.A long and tireless research by many scientists had been futile.

Alexander in the work

Alexander in the work

Various experiment were done by Alex but he couldn’t  find anything as the perfect cure for infections wounds.If penicillin had been found during the First World War,many off the wounded soldier’s lives could have been saved.

During his experiments Alex found that every living organism has the ability to fight against bacteria,now the question was how to develop this anti bacterial power to treat infection in the human body when its own immune system could not cope.

Alex spent two years trying out various experiments then one day quite by accident he found the answer.He never would have thought that a valuable medicine like penicillin could have been found in such a strange way.

While Alex was doing experiments to find out the nature of bacteria he covered the clusters of bacteria in their separate glass jars but,one of the glass jars was left uncovered by mistake.The next morning when Alex came to make further experiments on the bacteria he suddenly saw some bluish mould on the cluster of bacteria on the uncovered jar.When Alex examined it again,he found that the mould had killed all bacteria much  to his amazement.

Penicillin saving life

Penicillin saving life

Alex was extremely happy with his great discovery which he tested again and again.He found that around the area of mould the deadly staphylococcus bacteria had completely disappeared .Alex’s conclusion was that there must be something in the mould that killed the bacteria;he gave it the name Penicillin.

Alex’s second task was to extract the medicine from the mould.he tried every possible method but he was unable to extract pure penicillin from the mould.

Alex was ecstatic when he got message that penicillin had been successfully extracted  from the mould .Penicillin was repeatedly tested and found to be absolutely effective and totally harmless to human bodies.Then the large scale production of penicillin began and was used and,as a consequence, many lives were saved .Alex was praised all over the world along with Howard Florey and Ernest Chain for making the wonderful discovery of penicillin .

The discovery of penicillin was of course one of the greatest advances in the field of medical science.Alex was knighted in 1944.In the following year,1955,he was awarded the Nobel Prize alongside Sir Howard Walter Florey and Ernst Boris Chain.

Alex suffered a massive heart attack and died in 1955,aged 74.The world had lost a most advanced and enthusiastic scientist.Alex’s contribution to the development of medical science was enormous and truly unforgettable.He was,without doubt,a great scientist of outstanding merit.

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