• Inside the Collection

Ada Lovelace day: our tribute to Ethel Florey

Penicillin mould from Florey's lab. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Penicillin mould from Florey’s lab. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Our nomination of scientist for this year’s Ada Lovelace Day is Ethel Florey. You are more likely to have heard of her Nobel Prize winning husband Howard, but Ethel was also part of the team that established the antibiotic qualities of penicillin and worked out how to produce it in medical quantities. The Museum has penicillin mould samples from Florey’s lab in the collection.

Ethel’s medical career was interrupted to raise her children. She also struggled with deafness and ill health. But she had an active professional life and published a number of books with her husband, and on her own, on the clinical application of antibiotics.

(Coincidentally the Museum loves Lovelace, and also Loves Lace)

One response to “Ada Lovelace day: our tribute to Ethel Florey

  • Good choice of subject for Ada Lovelace Day! Ethel Florey spent long hours supervising the first clinical trials of penicillin, observing the patients, and cycling between hospitals collecting urine from the patients so the precious penicillin they excreted could be recovered and re-used. She was also the first person to note bacterial resistance to the antibiotic. A photo of Ethel, and more details about her life, can be found here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47221148

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