Howard Walter Florey
(1898-1968)

Died aged 69

Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey OM FRS FRCP (24 September 1898 – 21 February 1968) was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming for his role in the development of penicillin. Although Fleming received most of the credit for the discovery of penicillin, it was Florey who carried out the first clinical trials of penicillin in 1941 at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford on the first patient, a police constable from Oxford. The patient started to recover, but subsequently died because Florey was unable, at that time, to make enough penicillin. It was Florey and Chain who actually made a useful and effective drug out of penicillin, after the task had been abandoned as too difficult. Florey's discoveries, along with the discoveries of Fleming and Ernst Chain, are estimated to have saved over 200 million lives, and he is consequently regarded by the Australian scientific and medical community as one of its greatest figures. Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister, said, "In terms of world well-being, Florey was the most important man ever born in Australia."

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Kastrel on Wikimedia Commons
Nick Harrison on Flickr

This rose garden was given in honour of the research workers in this university who discovered the clinical importance of penicillin. For saving of life, relief of suffering and inspiration to further research all mankind is in their debt. Those who did this work were E. P. Abraham, E. Chain, C. M. Fletcher, H. W. Florey, M. E. Florey, A. D. Gardner, N. G. Heatley, M. A. Jennings, J. Orr-Ewing, A. G. Sanders.

Botanic Garden, Oxford, United Kingdom where they worked near

In this building Howard Florey, Ernst Chain, Norman Heatley & colleagues first isolated and purified penicillin for the treatment of bacterial infection, 1938-1941

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, South Parks Road, Oxford, United Kingdom where they worked