The advent of the semi-synthetic penicillins in the 1960's marked a major advance in clinical medicine.  Amoxicillin was at one time the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the world and is still widely used as are the other semi-synthetic penicillins.

The discovery of the semi-synthetic penicillins resulted from the synthesis of the penicillin ‘nucleus’ - 6-aminopenicillinac acid - by four scientists working in the Beecham company’s research laboratories at Brockham Park in England.

One of the four scientists, George Rolinson, sadly died aged 90 on the 8th of December 2016.

George was a strong supporter of the International Society of Chemotherapy.  He was awarded the Society’s premier Hamao Umezawa Memorial Award and Medal in 1991 and Honorary Membership in 2007.  He received other prestigious awards including the Garrod Medal of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, of which he was a Past-President, and a Gold Medal from the Royal Society of London.

In spite of his important scientific achievements George was a humble and delightful man.  In a different era he and his colleagues might (many say should) have been awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery. I once mentioned this to him but he brushed the question away - a very modest man indeed!

Alasdair Geddes
IJAA Editor-in-Chief (2005-2015)

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