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@Alan Kendall, May 25, 2016 at 9:31 PM

Pcar. penicillin is a very poor example I'm afraid. Fleming noticed the effect of the fungus on bacteria, but investigated the wrong species (which had a weak effect) didn't communicate his observations and generally was an impediment to the development of the drug. The credit should rightfully be given to a team from Oxford who refined and eventually synthasized the drug, and to American phama who worked out how to mass produce it in time for it to be used during the latter years of the war. Penicillin is a good example of where teams, rather than an individual, were effective.

Interesting, but not a view I've heard before. Generally accepted is:

Fleming ..... describes the discovery as a fortuitous accident: in his laboratory in the basement of St Mary's Hospital in London (now part of Imperial College)

Fleming was a famously poor communicator and orator, which meant his findings were not initially given much attention.[32] He was unable to convince a true chemist to help him extract and stabilize the antibacterial compound found in the broth filtrate. Despite the lack of a true chemist, he remained interested in the potential use of penicillin and presented a paper entitled "A Medium for the Isolation of Pfeiffer's Bacillus" to the Medical Research Club of London, which was met with little interest and even less enthusiasm by his peers. Had Fleming been more successful at making other scientists interested in his work, penicillin for medicinal use would possibly have been developed years earlier.

What is your source?

P

May 26, 2016 at 1:08 AM | Registered CommenterPcar

Lord Beaverbrook, it is clear that Harvard and other Business Schools adopt the "follow the money" approach to investments, particularly when they have good knowledge of where the best subsidies are to be targetted by National Governments.

When taken to its logical greedy conclusion by business people and politicians this can still go wrong. Tim Yeo may write about this if he has the time to do it.

May 26, 2016 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Fancy a Harvard course on climate

Humanity faces an immense challenge: providing abundant energy to everyone without wrecking the planet. If we want a high-energy future while protecting the natural world for our children, we must consider the environmental consequences of energy production and use. But money matters too: energy solutions that ignore economic costs are not realistic—particularly in a world where billions of people currently can’t afford access to basic energy services. How can we proceed?

No, it's free you know....

May 25, 2016 at 11:36 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

AK:

Fleming did not investigate the 'wrong species'. He isolated a pure culture of Penicillium with antibiotic properties and asked the Irish mycologist La Touche (who was also working at St Mary's) to identify it, he was the one that got it wrong. Likewise, the Oxford team and US pharma came up with a fermentation method of bulk production and penicillin. The drug was not synthesised until the 1950's

May 25, 2016 at 10:21 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Pcar. penicillin is a very poor example I'm afraid. Fleming noticed the effect of the fungus on bacteria, but investigated the wrong species (which had a weak effect) didn't communicate his observations and generally was an impediment to the development of the drug. The credit should rightfully be given to a team from Oxford who refined and eventually synthasized the drug, and to American phama who worked out how to mass produce it in time for it to be used during the latter years of the war. Penicillin is a good example of where teams, rather than an individual, were effective.

May 25, 2016 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

This Comment at WUWT left me wondering who did the reviews?

" Bryan A
May 25, 2016 at 12:32 pm
A paper published simultaneously in Science (Bianchi, F., et al. Science, doi 10.1126/ science.aad5456(link is external), 2016) describes an observation of pure organic nucleation at the Jungfraujoch observatory by the same mechanism reported by CLOUD. The measurements did not involve CLOUD directly but most of the authors are also members of the CLOUD collaboration.
======================================================================
So basically the 2 papers agree which might appear to be good on the surface but if you look at the papers author list
The Kirby et al paper lists 25 named authors
while
The Tröstl, J., et al paper lists 24 named authors.
But 18 of those are listed as authors of BOTH papers.
To a certain extent this could simply be the majority of authors agreeing with themselves in 2 authored papers to reinforce their perceived viewpoint of Cause and Effect "

May 25, 2016 at 8:55 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Local Fiends of the Earth campaigning for "stay" in the referendum, apparently against Charity Commission rules:

http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2016/05/24/letter-why-were-greener-in-europe/

May 25, 2016 at 8:47 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

@M Courtney, May 25, 2016 at 9:48 AM

The greatest breakthroughs are not obvious, by definition. They are not the clear next step that people grind away to find. The greatest breakthroughs require heading off the beaten path.

The main group always stays where the easy pickings are. That's how they can survive. And that's where the sensible money goes.

It takes a maverick (or a pair of mavericks) to try something completely new.

Very true, a few that spring to mind:

Discoveries by accident:
Penicillin, Vulcanised rubber, X-rays,

Heading off the beaten path: John Snow & cholera, Barry J. Marshall & Helicobacter pylori (cause of stomach ulcer)

May 25, 2016 at 8:29 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

Alan Kendall, sometimes I write like a climate scientist, and any similarity or difference between truth and fiction is difficult to spot.

Allegedly.

May 25, 2016 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC. Rereading your 5.10pm I realized your second para might have been you trying to be funny/facetious, but in fact you have unconsciously described what actually happens in real life. People involved in the research are deliberately excluded from a paper's authorship so they can act as "independent" reviewers. Very difficult to prove, but if you carefully read some of the climategate emails you get an inkling of what happens. That was my conclusion when I first began to read them.

May 25, 2016 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

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