These days we take antibiotics so much for granted that there has recently been a campaign to persuade us we don't always need them. GPs are constantly faced with patients refusing to leave the surgery without a prescription for the wonder drug they believe will cure anything. The most famous antibiotic is Pencillin, discovered by chance in a laboratory at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. This book is written by Kevin Brown who is curator of the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum and therefore knows his subject well. The discovery of penicillin has been meticulously researched. From Fleming first noticing the effects of a strange mould to the production of the wonder drug that helped win the second world war and save millions of lives ever since. The book is not just a fascinating insight into the life of Fleming and his discovery but also paints a vivid picture of the laboratory working conditions at the time. It answers many of the questions raised as to who should get the credit for penicillin: Fleming or Florey. Although the debate will always rage - the facts are there. Described as "the best and most authoritative book yet" by Someone who knows the subject well this book will be enjoyed not only by those interested in scientific discoveries but anyone who enjoys a good, well written biography.
My daughter, age 12, read this as part of an assignment. It is very child-friendly, while at the same time, informative. The young Alexander Fleming used to run to his primary school with baked potatoes in his pocket to keep his hands warm (he later had them for breakfast) - and his untidy habits led to the discovery of one of the most important drugs in the world.
A really good read about how Penicillin was found, produced in quantity and medically used to combat illnesses. The life story of Alexander Fleming and his work, colleagues, rivals, and honours is excellently related.