Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dawson's penicillin 1940-1945 : made in the Public Domain , FOR the Public Domain

Howard Florey's penicillin 1940-1945, by way of pointed contrast, was Pure penicillin for Purely military use only.

He believed that penicillium were tiny ancient life  and so , by definition , linear progressive Evolution's "Yesterday's Men" .

He was sure civilized scientific Man was bound to make penicillin better and cheaper than some slimy mold in a sort of  witch's caldron .

But, in fact , chemists actually needed hundreds of millions of dollars - in 1940s dollars - together with tens of thousands of tons of structural and stainless steel  to make a whole series of chemical factories, just to get started on making penicillin.

All those big plants, together with lots of staff, a whole lot of energy and many corrosive solvents were Man's way of making penicillin.

They needed to be build expensively strong in order to safely apply high pressure and high & cold temperature over and over in many steps.

All this to replicate what a incredibly tiny fungus cell (sixty pico grams in mass) could produce at ordinary temperatures and ordinary pressures out of a little dirty water and a bit of decaying organic material.

That tiny fungus factory weighed about one billion trillion times less than all of the factories needed to make the basic chemicals that went into the final penicillin synthetic factory.

So if you thought that perhaps the tiny fungus could do the job better and cheaper, then you were with Dawson.

Now, just as how you viewed the possibility of the continuing viability of small beings coloured the type of penicillin factory you preferred, it seemed to also colour who you thought the penicillin should help.

So, Florey: big factory penicillin for big armies only ; Dawson : small factory penicillin for small people everywhere.....

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