Sir Alexander Fleming

1881 – 1955   Doctor, scientist, Nobel Laureate, Discoverer of Penicillin

Fleming went to school in Scotland and became a medical doctor in England in 1906, entering medical research shortly thereafter. He served as a British Army doctor in World War One. In his lab in 1928, he noticed an oddity – bacteria-infected Petri dishes with clear spots on them, places with no bacteria would grow. Fleming shifted his research to look at this and was able to isolate and purify the substance responsible, the product of a certain species of mold, which we now call penicillin. It is difficult to understate the revolution in medicine this discovery caused; millions of lives have been saved as a result of Fleming’s brilliance. He was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize in medicine.

Sancta Maria Lodge No. 2682, London


“For the birth of something new, there has to be a happening. Newton saw an apple fall; James Watt watched a kettle boil; Roentgen fogged some photographic plates. And these people knew enough to translate ordinary happenings into something new…”