Kevin Brown Historian

History of health, medicine and naval history

Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution


penicillin cover           

Sixty years after the antibiotic revolution Kevin Brown provides a contemporary re-evaluation of Alexander Fleming and his scientific innovation that changed the world.

Fleming’s discovery of penicillin – which he found growing on a petri dish of staphylococci when he returned to work after a holiday – revolutionised healthcare and turned the modest, self-effacing Fleming in to a world hero. A team at Oxford, led by Howard Florey and including German Jewish refugee Ernst Chain, helped to turn Fleming’s find in to a usable drug and, in an unprecedented move of international co-operation, penicillin was taken over to America to be produced on a mass scale.

In this new biography, which examines both Fleming the public figure and Fleming the private man, Kevin Brown uses a variety of previously unused sources, including friends and acquaintances of Fleming himself and photographs never before published.

Pub Date : 23rd September 2004

Sutton Publishing

ISBN : 0 7509 3152 3


Kevin Brown is Trust Archivist and Alexander Fleming Laboratory Curator at St Mary’s NHS Trust, Paddington. He set up the archive service at the hospital and established the Museum in 1993.


Educated at Hertford College, Oxford and at University College, London, he is chairman of the London Museums of Health and Medicine.


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