( Scottish biologist, physician, microbiologist, and pharmacologist ) 6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955
It is possible that in ten years’ time penicillin itself will be a back number and will be replaced by something better. It is quite certain though that to displace penicillin any newcomer will have to be very, very good.
One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.
Penicillin sat on a shelf for ten years while I was called a quack.
I have been trying to point out that in our lives chance may have an astonishing influence and, if I may offer advice to the young laboratory worker, it would be this – never to neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening.
Nature makes penicillin; I just found it.
I play with microbes. There are, of course, many rules to this play…but when you have acquired knowledge and experience it is very pleasant to break the rules and to be able to find something nobody has thought of.
The unprepared mind cannot see the outstretched hand of opportunity.
It is the lone worker who makes the first advance in a subject: the details may be worked out by a team, but the prime idea is due to the enterprise, thought, and perception of an individual.
The discovery of penicillin was a triumph of accident, a fortunate occurrence that happened while I was working on a purely academic bacteriological problem.
If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.
Suggested remedy for the common cold: A good gulp of whiskey at bedtime- it’s not very scientific, but it helps.
I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I suppose that was exactly what I did.
For the birth of something new, there has to be a happening. Newton saw an apple fall; James Watt watched a kettle boil; Roentgen fogged some photographic plates. And these people knew enough to translate ordinary happenings into something new…
Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.
You do not know what you will find, you may set out to find one thing and end up by discovering something entirely different.