A draft of this blogpost has been growing and fermenting since last September. This week I scraped the mould off to reveal some interesting photos.
Back in September I was walking around London W2, taking photos for Bleeding London, when I spotted this plaque celebrating the discovery of penicillin by the Scottish scientist Sir Alexander Fleming.
I guess most people know the story of this chance discovery. Fleming was working with petri dishes of bacteria in his lab at St Mary’s Hospital in 1928 when he noticed penicillium mould growing on one dish. Around the mould was a clear area where the growth of the bacteria had been halted.
That famous mould must have looked something like this.
This particular sample is on display at London’s Science Museum, which I visited last week.
By the way, the names “penicillin” and “penicillium” are derived from the Latin word for a fine brush, because of the brush-like shape of the penicillium fungus as seen under a microscope.
So why have I been thinking about Sir Alexander Fleming for four months? Because it feels like I can’t escape from him. Not just in Praed Street and the Science Museum, but even in ordinary blocks of flats.
These flats were officially opened by Sir Alexander himself.
There’s even a pub named after him. So now I can tell my readers where to raise a (non-mouldy) glass to toast Sir Alexander’s achievements. Cheers!