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The accident that changed the world - Allison Ramsey and Mary Staicu

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  • 6,244 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

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In 1928, scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab and found something unexpected: a colony of mold growing on a Petri dish he’d forgotten to place in his incubator. And around this colony of mold was a zone completely and surprisingly clear of bacteria. What was this mysterious phenomenon? Allison Ramsey and Mary Staicu detail the discovery of penicillin and how it transformed medicine.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Allison Ramsey, Mary Staciu
  • Director WOW-HOW Studio
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Storyboard Artist Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Animator Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Producer Daria Kachan , Tatiana Koroleva, Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Art Director Marianna Murashko
  • Illustrator Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Script Editor Eleanor Nelsen
  • Fact-checker Liz McGlone
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Penicillin is a well-known and widely used antibiotic. How was penicillin discovered? How does it work against bacteria? What threatens its efficacy against infections?

If you’re interested a few more details about how penicillin works, check out this video from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA video)

The American Board of Internal Medicine has a campaign of smart practices across all medical specialties. Recommendations surrounding penicillin allergy can be found here

The Centers for Disease Control has a fact sheet about penicillin and penicillin allergy.

Check out the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's drug allergy guide to learn about different symptoms to drug allergies. 

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Allison Ramsey, Mary Staciu
  • Director WOW-HOW Studio
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Storyboard Artist Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Animator Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Producer Daria Kachan , Tatiana Koroleva, Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Art Director Marianna Murashko
  • Illustrator Andrii Dudko, Anastasiia Novikova, Konstantin Bunovsky
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Script Editor Eleanor Nelsen
  • Fact-checker Liz McGlone
  • See more