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[Perspectives] The penicillin girls (and guys)

Have you heard of “the penicillin girls”? Perhaps one of them was your grandmother? If so, the Oxford University Museum of the History of Science wants to learn more about her. These six women—Ruth Callow, Claire Inayat, Betty Cooke, Peggy Gardner, Megan Lancaster, and Patricia McKegney—comprised a team recruited by Howard Florey, Professor of Pathology at Oxford’s William Dunn School of Pathology, in the late 1930s. They “farmed penicillin”, working in laboratory conditions to collect a few milligrams of solid penicillin each week from hundreds of litres of what they called “mould juice”.

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