Who was Alexander Fleming? This game will help children learn key facts about the Scottish scientist, Alexander Fleming. As a physician and microbiologist, Alexander Fleming is widely credited with the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, critical to today’s medicine. Play this game to learn more about this incredible scientist.
Alexander Fleming Facts
The discovery of penicillin and the lysozyme was the work of Scottish botanist and bacteriologist Alexander Fleming. These two compounds are still used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, but what did Fleming really do to create them? Discover his fascinating life and work. Here are some Alexander Fleming Facts:
Alexander Fleming was a Scottish bacteriologist
Fleming was born on December 19, 1874, in the village of Lochfield in Ayrshire. He was the seventh of eight children, and his father died when he was seven. At the age of thirteen, Fleming moved to London and studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic. At the same time, he worked in a shipping office. His uncle died in 1906, and he received equal shares of his estate. After graduating from St. Mary's Medical School, Fleming worked as a ship's clerk for four years.
He had a varied background, and had joined the London Scottish Regiment of the Territorial Army, which is where he became an accomplished marksman. Fleming was a member of the St Mary's Rifle Club and was encouraged by the captain to join the research department. Fleming studied at the medical school with distinction, and then joined a research team led by Sir Almroth Wright. Wright was a pioneer in the field of immunology and he took Fleming under his wing.
He was a botanist
Fleming's interest in the bacterial action of blood led him to study antiseptics and bacteria. His discoveries led to the discovery of lysozyme, an enzyme found in human secretions such as mucus and tears. His findings led him to conclude that nasal mucus impeded the growth of gram-positive bacteria. In the 1920s, Fleming began to test antibacterial agents by observing mould on a culture plate of staphylococcus bacteria. Interestingly, the mould grew within a bacteria-free circle, indicating that the enzyme contained in the antiseptic was effective.
Fleming became a physician in 1905, achieving a distinction in his MBBS degree. During the early part of his medical career, he became an assistant to the famous British bacteriologist, Almroth Wright. In 1908, he earned the Gold Medal for his B.Sc. degree in bacteriology. His subsequent research led to numerous publications and he lectured for six years. In addition to his research on bacteria, Fleming also served as a doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I.
He discovered penicillin
In 1929, Alexander Fleming published his paper in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology describing his discovery of penicillin. His research was not immediately successful, however, and the discovery did not inspire much enthusiasm among his contemporaries. Nevertheless, Fleming continued to work tirelessly on his discovery, and it became a huge breakthrough for the field of antibiotics. As the years went by, more people became interested in this antibiotic and its use as a treatment for disease.
Following his graduation from university, Fleming joined the London Scottish Regiment. He also became a member of the university's rifle club, where he treated patients with syphilis with Salvarsan, a drug developed by German physician Paul Ehrlich. Fleming worked in a military hospital during the First World War, where many soldiers became infected during evacuation. During his time there, Fleming experimented with antiseptic procedures and discovered that strong chemicals destroyed tissue. After the war, he returned to St Mary's Hospital Medical School as a lecturer.
He invented lysozyme
Lysozyme is a substance found in human body fluids that has a mild antiseptic effect. Fleming discovered lysozyme after having a cold and mixing his mucus with a culture plate of bacteria. The resulting mixture showed signs of bacteria dissolving. Fleming continued his research to determine how the body fights infection. Lysozyme is a type of protein or enzyme that catalyzes chemical reactions and inhibits bacterial growth.
In late 1921, a cold struck Alexander Fleming. In an effort to kill bacteria without harming human cells, he decided to culture a sample of mucus from himself. This was an unusual procedure, as most bacteriologists believed the body was unable to produce antiseptics. However, Fleming persevered and published his findings in 1922.