Alexander Fleming

  • Alexander Fleming was born

    Alexander Fleming was born on August 6, 1881 in Lochfield, Scotland. He grew up in Ayrshire, Scotland, a quiet and peaceful town. At age 16, he passed all his high school exams, and got a shipping job in London.
  • Fleming qualified for medical school

    In October of 1901, Fleming joined St. Mary's Hospital Medical School after working hard to get qualified.
  • Fleming became a surgeon

    In July of 1904, at 22 years old, Fleming passed his first medical exams and became a surgeon. As the search for the "Magic Bullet" continued, he looked for new ways to handle disease-causing microbes.
  • Fleming qualified to do surgical work

    In 1909, Fleming was qualified to do surgical work, but he remained interested in the treatments of infections. He became an assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, who was a pioneer in vaccine therapy and immunology.
  • Fleming married Sally McElroy

    Fleming married Sally (Sareen) McElroy in 1915. They had a son, Robert.
  • Fleming discovered the lysozyme

    In 1921, Fleming discovered the lysozyme, an enzyme occurring in many body fluids with a natural antibacterial effect.
  • Fleming discovered penicillin

    Alexander Fleming discovered penicillium mold contaminating a dish with staphylococcus bacteria. Penicillin would eventually be considered by many to be “The Magic Bullet”, treating bacteria-caused diseases.
  • Fleming named antibiotic penicillin

    Fleming used the name penicillin for the antibiotic.
  • Fleming published a report on penicillin

    Fleming published a report on penicillin in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology. He tried to grow and purify the mold, but was relatively unsuccessful, and although he was involved in the development of penicillin afterward, Fleming let Howard Florey and his team at Oxford University do most of the work leading up to mass production.
  • Fleming was awarded Nobel Prize

    In 1945, Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine along with Florey and Ernst Chain.
  • Fleming re-married

    Fleming married his second wife Dr. Amalia Koutsouri-Vourekas, a Greek colleague at St. Mary's Hospital where Fleming had been attached throughout his life after Sareen died in 1949.
  • Fleming died of a heart attack

    March 11th, 1955: Alexander Fleming died of a heart attack, and to this date remains a revolution himself, with "a position of immortality," in Ernst Chain's words.