Happy Accidents #007 - Penicillin
The 'Magic Mold' that changed the world of medicine forever
Welcome to the HAPPY ACCIDENTS newsletter!
Let's get into this week's Happy Accident, shall we?
Have you ever heard of the magic mold that changed the world of medicine forever? Well, today we're talking about penicillin and the incredible story of its discovery!
Alexander Fleming, a Scottish scientist working in London, England, stumbled upon the discovery of penicillin in 1928 while toiling away in his lab at St. Mary's Hospital.
He noticed that a mold, Penicillium notatum, had contaminated one of his petri dishes containing Staphylococcus bacteria. (Hold on, that's a lot of big words, let's break this down.)
To his surprise, Fleming observed the bacteria surrounding the mold had been killed while the bacteria further away remained alive. (Ah...Well that's interesting!)
He quickly realized that the mold was producing a substance with antibacterial properties, and he set out to isolate and identify it.
He ended up naming that substance penicillin, and his discovery would change the world of medicine forever!
Penicillin was first used to treat a bacterial infection in 1941, revolutionizing the field of medicine. Fleming's discovery was so impactful he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945!
Today, penicillin and other antibiotics are widely used to treat bacterial infections and have saved countless lives.
All due to this ‘Happy Accident’!!!
Some fun facts:
Fleming's original name for Penicillin was actually "mold juice" (glad that one didn't stick!)
Penicillin played a significant role in the treatment of wounded soldiers during World War II, saving numerous lives.
Researchers estimate that mortality for penicillin-sensitive causes of death fell by 58% following the introduction of the drug, relative to the mean prior to 1947
Penicillin has been nicknamed the "miracle drug" due to its ability to cure bacterial infections that were once considered fatal.
The lessons here:
Be Observant: Penicillin would never have been discovered if not for Fleming's careful observation of a contaminated petri dish
There is Value in Being Open Minded: Fleming was open minded enough to notice the effect on the bacteria and was curious enough to pursue further research
The Power of Collaboration: Fleming's discovery was only the beginning of the story of penicillin. Other scientists, including Ernst Chain and Howard Florey, were critical to refining the production of penicillin and making it a usable medication.
The Impact of Serendipity: The discovery of penicillin was largely the result of chance, and it highlights the important role that serendipity can play in scientific discovery.
YOUR Happy Accidents
People LOVE dogs! Check out this incredible Happy Accident story from Yong-Soo Chung about how a video of his dog Humphrey unexpectedly went viral on Instagram. This sparked an idea that lead to a string of new ventures. Chung's businesses are now approaching 8 figures in revenue! Thanks Humphrey!
Do you have your own Happy Accident story? Some fortunate coincidence that led to a lucky break or cool discovery? I'd love to hear it? Send it to me here. It might just get featured in a future Happy Accidents edition!
Happy Accidents is brought to you by, The Accidental Solopreneur
Dennis Geelen is the author of this best selling book, bringing you a riveting parable about how one man found success through a happy accident and how you can too!