The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat by Eric Lax
The Story of the Penicillin Miracle (John MacRae Books)

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Synopsis

The untold story of the discovery of the first wonder drug, the men who led the way, and how it changed the modern world

The discovery of penicillin in 1928 ushered in a new age in medicine. But it took a team of Oxford scientists headed by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain four more years to develop it as the first antibiotic, and the most important family of drugs in the twentieth century. At once the world was transformed—major bacterial scourges such as blood poisoning and pneumonia, scarlet fever and diphtheria, gonorrhea and syphilis were defeated as penicillin helped to foster not only a medical revolution but a sexual one as well. In his wonderfully engaging book, acclaimed author Eric Lax tells the real story behind the discovery and why it took so long to develop the drug. He reveals the reasons why credit for penicillin was misplaced, and why this astonishing achievement garnered a Nobel Prize but no financial rewards for Alexander Fleming, Florey, and his team.

The Mold in Dr. Florey’s Coat is the compelling story of the passage of medicine from one era to the next and of the eccentric individuals whose participation in this extraordinary accomplishment has, until now, remained largely unknown.
 

About Eric Lax

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Eric Lax is the author of Woody Allen, A Biography and Life and Death on 10 West, both New York Times Notable Books. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Life, The Atlantic Monthly, and Esquire as well as many other magazines and newspapers. He lives with his wife and two sons in Los Angeles.
 
Published April 12, 2004 by Henry Holt and Co.. 320 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Self Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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Apr 12 2004 | Read Full Review of The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat...

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Heatley cobbled together an apparatus to extract penicillin from mold juice using glass tubing, assorted pumps, copper coils, colored warning lights, and even an old doorbell.

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Although Fleming, Florey and Chain shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for their revolutionary work, accolades and media attention were disproportionately bestowed on Fleming, and in the popular imagination he was transformed into the sole creator of penicillin.

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Entertainment Weekly

Lax adeptly chronicles the triumphs of visionary researchers in a shoestring-budget laboratory as well as the seething jealousies of academic rivals and greedy pharmaceutical firms, giving a little-known story an invigorating, uh, shot in the arm.

Apr 09 2004 | Read Full Review of The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat...

Bookmarks Magazine

Alcestis Observer (UK) 3 of 5 Stars "Eric Lax goes into enormous detail about [penicillin’s] discovery and the subsequent squabbles over who really made the breakthrough.

Oct 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat...

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