Fleming discovered penicillin, one of the most important medicines of the twentieth century. During World War 1 (1914–18) Fleming watched as lots of soldiers died from simple infections and he wanted to find medicines that would help.
Fleming was not a very tidy person and his laboratory was often very messy. One day he was throwing out old Petri dishes when suddenly he noticed something strange. In one dish there was some mould growing and all around the mould the bacteria had been killed.
This was very unusual. Fleming discovered penicillin by accident, a mould that killed lots of different kinds of bacteria that caused infections. When somebody asked him about his discovery Fleming said, “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.”
1 The discovery of penicillin was very important.
2 Not many soldiers died from infections.
3 Fleming’s laboratory was very organised.
4 Fleming was lucky to discover penicillin.
5 There was nothing special about the mould Fleming discovered.
6 The mould could help stop infections.
7 Fleming wasn’t looking for penicillin when he discovered it.