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24 September 1898 Lord Howard Florey

 24 September 1898 Lord Howard Florey

Lord Howard Florey, one of Adelaide’s most notable sons, was born on 24 September 1898. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide and was Rhodes Scholar in 1921. This took him to Oxford where he achieved a science degree and won a number of fellowships including one in America in 1925. Back in England, after several appointments he became, in 1935, Professor of Pathology at Oxford. In collaboration with Professor Chain, a refugee from Nazi Germany, he began research to develop a chance discovery by Dr Alexander Fleming in 1929 of a mould which destroyed certain bacteria. After years of experimental work and testing, penicillin came into being. The new drug was used first to treat the war wounded and in 1945 the three men involved in its discovery and development were awarded the Nobel Prize. Florey was instrumental in establishing the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, but declined an invitation to be its director. However, in 1965 he did become Chancellor of the ANU. He died on 21 February 1968.

100 Famous Australian Lives, Paul Hamlyn, 1969, pp.443-60.

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