The Story Of How Penicillin Was Invented

Imagine coming back from vacation and accidentally inventing a lifesaving medicine. That’s exactly what happened for Sir Alexander Fleming when he created Penicillin on September 28th, 1928.

He returned to St. Mary’s Hospital in London after being on vacation in Scotland. Upon his return, he noticed that a mold had contaminated Petri dishes in a common infectious bacteria. After he investigated more closely, he was stunned to realize that the Penicillium notatum mold was preventing the growth of the bacteria.

After a few weeks of experimentation, Fleming concluded that the Penicillium “mold juice” could be manipulated to fight infectious diseases.

“When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess that was exactly what I did,” Sir Alexander Fleming, via PBS News Hour.

After 14 years of trial and error, he was able to perfect penicillin with the help of Dr. Howard Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain. It’s now helped treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections or pneumonia. Thank goodness for Sir Alexander Fleming and happy accidents!