Dr Norman Heatley OBE in interview with Max Blythe


Penicillin pioneer, Dr Norman Heatley, talks with Max Blythe of his boyhood in Suffolk, early interests in science and instrumentation, and undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Cambridge. He then outlines how an opportunity to work with Ernst Chain in Oxford in 1936 on tumour metabolism led eventually to early involvement with Florey and Chain in the preparation of extracts of Penicillium notatum and trials and assays of penicillin. His contribution to the development of a solvent extraction procedure is then reviewed, followed by discussion of various initiatives relating to penicillin production, including a wartime quest for culture vessels and subsequent collaborative links with the USA. Detailed references to the contributions of Florey and Chain and early use of antibiotic therapy make this an important document on one of the major advances in scientific medicine this century.


Research, Antibiotics, Penicillin,

Project reference numbers

vid-103, MSVA_029

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Permanent link to this resource:


Attached files


Heatley, Norman
Blythe, Max

Oxford Brookes departments

Learning Resources


Original artefact: 1990
RADAR resource: 2017

© Oxford Brookes University; The Royal College of Physicians
Published by Oxford Brookes University
All rights reserved.

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This RADAR resource is Part of Medical Sciences Video Archive


  • Owner: Annabel Valentine
  • Collection: Archives
  • Version: 1 (show all)
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