Fleming , Sir Alexander
(1881–1955) British bacteriologist
Fleming was born at Lochfield in Scotland. After his early education at Kilmarnock Academy and the London Polytechnic Institute, he began his career at the age of 16 as a shipping clerk in a London office. With encouragement from his brother, who was a doctor, he became a medical student at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in 1902 and graduated from the University of London in 1908. He worked at St. Mary's all his life apart from 1914–18, when he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During this time he became interested in the control of wound infections and was a vigorous supporter of the physiological treatment of wounds rather than treatment using harsh chemicals, such as carbolic acid. In the 1920s he studied various body secretions and their effects on bacteria. Thus he discovered lysozyme, a bacteriolytic enzyme that is present in serum, saliva, and tears, publishing his findings in 1922.
In 1928 Fleming was appointed professor of bacteriology and in the same year he made his most important discovery. After accidentally leaving a dish of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed certain clear areas in the culture. He found these areas were due to contamination by a mold he identified asPenicillium notatum, which produced a substance that killed the bacteria. Fleming named this substance ‘penicillin’ and tested the bactericidal effect of the mold on various different bacteria, observing that it killed some but not others. He appreciated the potential of his discovery but was unable to isolate and identify the compound. It was not until World War II, with the urgent need for new antibacterial drugs, that penicillin – the first antibiotic – was finally isolated by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain.
Fleming was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine jointly with Florey and Chain for his discovery, which initiated a whole new range of lifesaving antibiotics. He received a knighthood in 1944 and many other honors.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fleming,Sir Alexander — Fleming, Sir Alexander. 1881 1955. British bacteriologist who discovered penicillin in 1928, for which he shared a Nobel Prize in 1945. * * * …   Universalium

  • Fleming, Sir Alexander — born Aug. 6, 1881, Lochfield, Ayr, Scot. died March 11, 1955, London, Eng. Scottish bacteriologist. While serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War I, he conducted research on antibacterial substances that would be nontoxic to humans.… …   Universalium

  • Sir Alexander Fleming — Alexander Fleming auf einer Briefmarke Sir Alexander Fleming (* 6. August 1881 in Lochfield bei Darvel, East Ayrshire; † 11. März 1955 in London) war ein schottischer Bakteriologe und Nobelpreisträger und …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sir Alexander Fleming College — (commonly known as Fleming College or simply Fleming) is a British school in Trujillo, northern Perú. Fleming College represents Cambridge University and has an agreement with Markham College in Lima, Perú. Many of the Fleming staff are from… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Fleming — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fleming. Sir Alexander Fleming est un biologiste et un pharmacologue écossais, né le 6 août 1881 à Lochfield, Ayrshire, Écosse et mort le 11 mars 1955 à Londres. Il a publié de nombreux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alexander — /al ig zan deuhr, zahn /, n. 1. See Alexander the Great. 2. Also, Alexandros. Class. Myth. Homeric name for Paris. 3. Franz /frants, franz, frahnts/, 1891 1964, U.S. psychoanalyst, born in Hungary. 4. Grover Cleveland …   Universalium

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • alexander — /al ig zan deuhr, zahn /, n. (often cap.) a cocktail made with crème de cacao with gin or brandy (brandy alexander) and sweet cream. [1925 30; prob. after the proper name] * * * (as used in expressions) Agassiz Alexander Emmanuel Rodolphe… …   Universalium

  • Fleming — /flem ing/, n. 1. a native of Flanders. 2. a Flemish speaking Belgian. [1350 1400; ME < MD Vlaeminc, equiv. to Vlaem (see FLEMISH) + ing ING3; late OE Flaeming perh. < OFris] /flem ing/, n. 1. Sir Alexander, 1881 1955, Scottish bacteriologist and …   Universalium

  • Alexander Fleming — Nacimiento 6 de ago …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alexander Fleming — (Mitte) bei der Verleihung des Nobelpreises durch König Gustaf V. von Schweden im Jahr 1945 Sir Alexander Fleming (* 6. August 1881 in Lochfield bei Darvel, East Ayrshire; † 11. März 1955 in London) war ein schottischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”