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Alexander Fleming: The Discovery Of Penicillin

2185 words - 9 pages

Sir Alexander Fleming changed the world of medicine not only in his days but also in the world today. We have the medicines and antibiotics that we have today because of Alexander Fleming. His discovery was much needed in the world and I hate to think where we would be in the medicine world if he hadn’t discovered penicillin.
Alexander Fleming was born on August 6, 1881 in Darvel, Ayrshire, Scotland. He was born on Lochfield Farm, which was his family’s farm. Alex was the seventh of eight children. He was the third child born to his father’s second wife. With his upbringing in Scotland, Alexander had much more appreciation of the natural world at a young age. (Brown, 2013)
Alexander started his schooling at Loudoun Moor. He moved from Loudoun Moor to a bigger school in Darvel. He finally enrolled in Kilmarnock Academy in 1894 when he was 12 or 13 years old. A year later, Alexander moved to London with his older brother, Thomas. He completed his high school education at Regent Street Polytechnic. (Brown, 2013)
After completing high school in London, Alexander got a job as a shipping clerk. In 1901, Fleming started school at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School. This was the beginning of his medical studies. He got into St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School on a scholarship and a legacy that his uncle left. In 1908, Alexander won the gold medal as a top medical student at the University of London. Fleming was originally going to become a surgeon, but he started a temporary position in the laboratories at St. Mary’s. This temporary position led Fleming to change his field to bacteriology instead of surgery. It was here that Fleming met and learned under bacteriologist and immunologist, Sir Almroth Edward Wright, who was
into vaccine therapy. Somewhere between 1909 and 1914 Fleming was finally able to establish his private business as a venereologist. (Brown, 2013)
In 1915, Alexander married an irish nurse named Sarah Marion McElroy. In 1924, Sarah and Alexander’s first child was born. It was a son named Robert. Alexander’s son would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps within the medical field. Alexander had a commission in the army during World War 1. He was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and he studied wound infections as a bacteriologist. It was during his study of wound infections that he found that strong antiseptics did more harm than healing on the wounds. He suggested that a mild saline solution would be better. (Brown, 2013)
When he returned back home from World War 1, he returned to St. Mary’s and the Inoculation Department. In 1921, while still working under Wright, Fleming discussed that lysozyme, which is present in our body fluids, worked well as a mild antiseptic. This discovery of lysozyme was the first of Fleming’s many discoveries. His discovery of lysozyme led to a great study and discovery on how the body fights off infections. The time came in 1946 where he was finally was named the successor for Wright, and the...

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