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Top 10 Scottish Inventors.

Biography of Sir Alexander Fleming Inventor of Penicillin

Inventor: Sir Alexander Fleming

Most Famous Invention: Penicillin


Biography Sir Alexander Fleming was born in Lochfield, Scotland on August 6, 1881.  He died in London, England on March 11, 1955 at the age of 73. 

          He was a biologist, that is a scientist who studies living things, both plants and animals, and he was a pharmacologist, that is a scientist that studies drugs and their effects on living things.

He graduated from both Kilmarnock Academy and the Royal Polytechnic Institution, receiving scholarships and high honors at both places.  He received his medical training at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London where he joined the research department and studied under the famed research scientist Sir Almroth Wright.

          Sir Alexander graduated from St. Mary’s in 1908 with highest honors and remained there at the teaching hospital as a lecturer for the next six years. 

          Sir Alexander married his medical colleague Sarah Marion McElroy with whom he had one child, Robert Fleming who followed in the footsteps of his parents by entering into the medical profession as a general practitioner.

          Sarah died in 1949 and Sir Alexander later married one of his colleagues at St. Mary’s, Dr. Amalia Koutsouri-Vorekas

          Sir Alexander served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I and upon his discharge he returned to work at St. Mary’s where he became the President of Bacteriology. 


Sir Alexander Fleming

Sir Alexander Fleming Scottish Inventor

          In 1928, Sir Alexander made the life changing discovery of penicillin.  Many people, even now over eighty years later, owe their lives to Sir Alexander. 

          Fleming, along with two researchers Florey and Chain who had taken Sir Alexander’s discovery of penicillin and preformed studies on it were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine in 1945.  It was presented to them by King Gustaf V of Sweden.

          Sir Alexander went on to be knighted in 1944 because of the wondrous, life saving discovery which he had made.  He was later elected head of the Royal Society of London.  This prestigious position is awarded to a member of the British Commonwealth and is held for five years.  It is considered to be one of the highest honors that society bestows upon a scientist.

          Sir Alexander Fleming died of a heart attack in his own home in 1955.  His marker at St. Paul’s Cathedral reads 1881 – 1955.  That simple line between those two dates represents a life of service and many lives saved because of Sir Alexander’s dedication to research and service to others.




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