After the outbreak of war in 1914, supplies of aspirin from
the Bayer company in Germany were cut off and the government
of the day offered a patent to anyone who could find a substitute
of equal or greater purity. Pharmacist
George Nicholas and experimenter Henry Woolf Shmith set about
the challenge, and on 12 June 1915 came up with Aspro, which
not only equalled but actually surpassed aspirin in purity.
Accidentally discovered by Scottish scientist Sir Alexander
Fleming in 1928, penicillin was not put to regular clinical
use until the antibiotic was developed into a practical drug
by a team of scientists at England's Oxford University, led
by Adelaide-born Lord Howard Florey together with German-born
biochemist Sir Ernst Chain in 1940. In Britain, the new drug
was initially reserved mainly for military use. First commercial
quantities for civilian use were produced by Commonwealth
Serum Laboratories (now CSL Limited) in 1943 in Australia.
Born in Windsor, New South Wales in 1834, the great comet
hunter John Tebbutt never set foot outside his native Australia.
Despite this, he became one of the great pioneers of astronomy
in the 19th century, and published 371 papers on everything
from eclipses and the position of the planets to meteorology.
His more than 700 observations and recordings of comets, planets
and stars in the southern hemisphere were in great demand
for orbit computations.
Born in Traralgon, Victoria in 1899, Sir Frank Macfarlane
Burnet was one of the world's greatest immunologists and virologists.
In 1960 he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine, together with
British scientist Sir Peter Medawar, for the discovery of
acquired immunological tolerance.
At the age of 25, Adelaide-born Sir William Laurence Bragg
was, and remains, the youngest ever winner of a Nobel Prize.
With his English-born father Sir William Henry Bragg, he shared
the 1915 prize for physics, for their work on x-ray diffraction
of crystals at Cambridge University. Together they explained
how x-rays pass through matter and how to picture the shape
and structure of molecules, and how they work.
Heart pacemakers have come a long way since 1929 when an
American scientist patented the pacemaker. In 1958 the world's
first practical pacemaker was developed in Sweden. Since then,
most of the innovations have come from the United States,
but an Australian company, Telectronics Pty Limited did lead
the world on and off from 1963 through to 1981 with a number
of world first developments and improvements. The first of
these was the integration of a chip circuit into the pacemaker
making it considerably smaller. The second in 1973 was the
use of titanium in pacemaker casings, making them light and
impervious to body fluids.
The work of David Robinson and George Kossoff at the Australian
Department of Health, resulted in the development of the first
commercially practical water path ultrasonic scanner in 1961.
Ultrasound is used for examining human organs, particularly
the developing foetus of pregnant women and can identify a
number of abnormalities and congenital disorders. The innovation
was commercialised in 1975 by Ausonics Pty Ltd.
Due to an unresolved dispute
with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade),
who copied and adopted as their own certain material from
Tomorrow's World, the Australian Initiative, and published
the material in their Australia Open for Business website,
without remorse or recompense, access
by Australian Government servers to this online edition
has been blocked indefinitely.