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Howard Florey

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Howard Walter Florey
Born28 November 1898
Adelaide, South Australia
Died21 February 1968
Oxford, England
Known forDeveloping penicillin
Notable awardsNobel Prize for Medicine, 1945

Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey OM FRS (29 November 1898 – 21 February 1968) was an Australian pathologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1945, for his study into penicillin. He was appointed a knight bachelor, and later a baron.

Early life

He was born in Adelaide, South Australia. He went to the Collegiate School of St.Peter and the Adelaide University. In 1921 he went to England as a Rhodes Scholar studying first at Oxford and then at Cambridge. He worked in the USA for 10 months before going back to London.[1] In 1926 he married long time friend from Adelaide, Mary Ethel Hayter Reed. They were married in England.


Florey took up a job teaching pathology at Cambridge University. He also studied for his Ph.D. His subject was on the flow of blood and lymph. In 1931 he became assistant professor of pathology at the University of Sheffield. From 1935 to 1962 he was a professor at the Sir William Dunn school of pathology at Oxford.[1]


Florey was always looking at new ideas in pathology. His most important work was turning penicillin into the first antibiotic. He worked with Ernst Chain to explore discoveries made earlier by Alexander Fleming. They looked at antibacterial substances that came from bacteria and fungi. They found that penicillin was the most interesting. Fleming had first discovered it in 1928. They were able to start experiments on humans in 1941. Because of World War 2 the drug was made in the USA. Its affects on wounded people was described as "miraculous".[1]

He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941. Once the world saw how well penicillin worked he was given many more honours. These included:[1]

He wrote more than 200 scientific papers. He kept an interest in Australia. he had a big role in starting the Australian National University (ANU), especially the John Curtin School of Medical Research. He was the main adviser to the school from 1948 to 1955. In 1965 he was appointed as Chancellor of the university. From 1962 he was Provost of The Queen's College at Oxford. He died from a heart attack in 1968.[1]


He is remembered for his work. A suburb in Canberra, Australia, was named after him. His picture is on the Australian fifty dollar note. There is a lecture theatre and a professorship named after him at the ANU. The Queen's College have named a building after him. There is a memorial stone at St.Nicholas's church at Marston, and a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey. There are a number of paintings and a sculpture.[1]


Other websites

This person won a Nobel Prize