The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat

The Story of the Penicillin Miracle

Eric Lax

A John Macrae/Holt Paperbacks Book

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"Admirable, superbly researched . . . perhaps the most exciting tale of science since the apple dropped on Newton's head."
—Simon Winchester, The New York Times

Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in his London laboratory in 1928 and its eventual development as the first antibiotic by a team at Oxford University headed by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1942 led to the introduction of the most important family of drugs of the twentieth century.

Yet credit for penicillin is largely misplaced. Neither Fleming nor Florey and his associates ever made real money from their achievements; instead it was the American labs that won patents on penicillin's manufacture and drew royalties from its sale. Why this happened, why it took fourteen years to develop penicillin, and how it was finally done is a fascinating story of quirky individuals, missed opportunities, medical prejudice, brilliant science, shoestring research, wartime pressures, misplaced modesty, conflicts between mentors and their protégés, and the passage of medicine from one era to the next.

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Reviews

Praise for The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat

"Beautifully researched and written, alive with scientific and human insight, Lax's fine book likely will become the classic account of penicillin's true medical beginnings."Los Angeles Times Book Review

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About the Author

Eric Lax

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 in many other magazines and newspapers. He lives with his wife and two sons in Los Angeles.

Eric Lax

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat
The Story of the Penicillin Miracle
Eric Lax

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
A John Macrae/Holt Paperbacks Book
February 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805077780
ISBN10: 0805077782
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages, Includes eight pages of black-and-white illustrations
$20.00
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