Alexander Fleming was born in Aryshire, Scotland, on August 6, 1881 on a sheep farm. His parents Hugh and Grace were farmers, and had 4 children. His father also had 4 other children from his first marriage
He attended the Louden Moor School, The Darvel school and Kilmarnock academy, before moving to London, where he lived with his brother, Thomas Fleming. In London, Fleming finished his basic education at the Regent Street Polytechnic.
In WW1 Fleming served in the army Medical Corps and after the war he returned to St. Marys. Whilst he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he worked as a bacteriologist, studying wound infections in a makeshift lab which had been set up in Boulogne, France. Through his research there, he realised that the antiseptics that were being frequently used at the time were doing more harm than good. Because of this more soldiers were dying of antiseptics than the wounds the antiseptics were trying to help.
He also discovered that the colonies of staphylococci surrounding this mold had been destroyed. Thinking he had found an enzyme more powerful than lyzozyme, Fleming decided to investigate further. He soon realised that it was not an enzyme but an antibiotic. Further development of the substance was not a one man job and so Fleming recruited two other researchers. Unfortunately they failed to purify penicillin, but Fleming pointed out that it had clinical potential.
In September 1928, Fleming returned to his laboratory after a month away with his family, and a culture of Staphylococcus aureus he had left out had become contaminated with a mold.
On the heels of Fleming's discovery, a team of scientists from the university of Oxford - Led by Howard Florey and his coworker, Ernst Chain - Isolated and purified penicillin. The antibiotic eventually came into use during WW2, revolutionizing battlefield medicine and the field of infection control. Florey, Chain and Fleming shared tge 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine