The Beauty of Sharing Ideas

On September 28, 1928, a British scientist named Sir Alexander Fleming made a chance discovery while he was working in his dingy laboratory.

Fleming discovered that a fungus, which he cultured inside a petri dish, killed all bacteria around it.

He was puzzled.

Unable to unravel the mystery by himself, he announced his finding to his colleagues, who were equally baffled by this interesting discovery. After carrying out series of experiments, they arrived at the conclusion that Fleming had discovered the world’s first anti-biotic!

The scientists succeeded in isolating the micro-organism, which had the ability to destroy bacteria. They called the new ‘wonder’ micro-organism Penicillium notatum. It was from this micro-organism that they eventually synthesised penicillin, an anti-biotic.

Penicillin was used extensively during the Second World War that occurred between 1939 and 1945, to save lives of wounded soldiers, who would have died from even simple infections. It is still the first choice anti-biotic in fighting infections today due to its broad-spectrum activity against other fungi, bacteria and viruses.

For their efforts in putting this anti-biotic to global use, Fleming and two of his close associates—Ernest Chain and Howard Florey—jointly received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945.

In 1999, TIME magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, noting that: “it was a discovery that would change the course of history.”

If Fleming had kept his discovery to himself just to get all the credit, he might not have been able to unravel the mystery. Team work helped to shed more light into his finding and he ended up getting the glory as well.

Fleming’s inspiring story shows that no man is an island of knowledge and ideas. Therefore, sharing ideas will help make the world a better place


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2 responses to “The Beauty of Sharing Ideas”

  1. Brown Sugar says :

    Very true! i think that several Nobel Laureates especially in the sciences worked as a team hence they are awarded the prize (s) together. For instance the Nobel prize for DNA was shared amongst James Watson,Crick and Walkins. Unfortunately,Rosalind Franklin the only female in the DNA research team was never awarded the prize as she died before the Nobel nominations,but her contributions are invaluable today as it was then. I believe we achieve more when we share ideas.

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