Painting With Penicillin: Alexander Fleming’s Germ Art, Rob Dunn, δημοσίευση στο Smithsonian MagazineMarilena Pateraki
Even to scientists, the question of where great discoveries come from is a bit of a mystery. Young biologists learn technique. They learn to sequence DNA, extract sediment cores or distinguish chemical compounds. But how to make a big breakthrough, well, that is equal parts chance and voodoo. Scientists who have a great insight one day (and implicitly, at least in that moment, understand discovery) are as likely to fade into anonymity the next as to make more big discoveries.
Among the classic examples of the unpredictable nature of discovery is that of the Scottish son of a pig farmer, Alexander Fleming. As you may have learned in school, Fleming kept a messy lab. He left petri dishes, microbes and nearly everything else higgledy-piggledy on his lab benches, untended. One day in September of 1928, Fleming returned from a trip and found a goop of some sort growing into a stack of abandoned bacterial cultures and killing them. The circle of goop was a fungus. In that chance moment, Fleming discovered the antibiotic properties of penicillin, properties that would change the world.
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