90 years ago today, Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, a discovery that would become the world’s first antibiotic—penicillin. The  Scottish physician and Professor of Bacteriology had served throughout World War I in the British Army Medical Corps and witnessed the death of many soldiers from infected wounds, and began searching for a solution. One morning, after having left his laboratory a mess, he returned from vacation and found a mold had killed the staphylococci culture in the petrie dish and commented, “That’s funny!” (1928)

Fleming published his discovery the following year, in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology, but little attention was paid to his article. But it changed the course of medicine, and won him the Nobel Prize for Physiology, and many other awards. The room where Fleming discovered and tested penicillin is preserved as the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. WATCH a great 2-min video on the Biography Channel website …

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Brazil passed a law freeing all future children of slaves (1871)
  • Baseball player Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finished the season with a batting average of .406, the last major league player to achieve a plus .400 average (1941)
  • Japan and Communist China agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations (1972)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an accord (Oslo II) to establish Palestinian self-government in the West Bank by means of an elected independent authority (1995)

Confucius

And, today is the birthday of Confucius, born in 551 BCE. The Chinese philosopher emphasized personal and governmental morality, caring social relationships, justice and sincerity. His golden rule to guide a person through life, formulated five centuries before Jesus was, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

On this day in 1976, Stevie Wonder released his eighteenth studio album Songs in the Key of Life. The ambitious double LP debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Chart—only the third album in history to achieve that feat, and the first by an American artist.songs-in-the-key-of-life-stevie-wonder

The Motown Records LP, which included a four-song bonus disk, was the most critically acclaimed of Wonder’s career, selling 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, with 13 consecutive weeks at number one. Two years before he commenced work on the LP, Wonder had moved to Ghana to work with handicapped children.