Skip to main content

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


12,891 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

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.

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. 

Next Section »

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

More from Inventions that Shape History