About Milton

I am British microbiologist, graduated from the University of Nottingham in botany and obtained my PhD from there in mycology and soil microbiology. After which, I went to Canada as a National Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow, researching aspects of environmental microbiology. After my postdoctoral fellowship, In 1975 I was appointed to the University of Sheffield. I have been awarded honorary professorships from Cardiff and Buckingham Universities in the UK, King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, and from the Megunaroden Slavjanski Institute in the Republic of Macedonia. I was also made a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), (2014), and a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics – Japan (ISPA) (2015).

My main research areas: a) astrobiology, particularly in relation to our recent research findings that microbes exist in space, and continually arriving to Earth from the cosmos, b) Alternatives to antibiotics for use against MRSA, c) the hypothesis that bacteria and other non-virus microbes cause cancer. I also research and publish on the history of Science, particularly showing that the idea of natural selection is not original to Darwin’s or Wallace’s theory. I have also written widely about the history of the discovery of penicillin and streptomycin.

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Life in Space


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Discover my research paper highlights including the first report of Cecil George Paine’s seminal use of penicillin in medicine; first full discussion of the history of the discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin by Albert Schatz; first description of the likely use of Allied penicillin to save Hitler’s life. First ever account of the work of Sir John Goodsir, the first person to observe and cure a bacterial infection. Papers on the role of pleomorphic bacteria in the formation of human cancers. Confirmation of the presence of bacteria and fungi at 41km in the stratosphere and the first ever report of the fact that organisms are continually incoming to Earth from space.

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During analysis of a balloon-launched sampler, evidence for the existence of human, and a vast variety of DNA derived from other organisms, in the stratosphere was found. We obviously cannot publish such findings on human DNA because of the problem of contamination during sampling and processing (of course, this may not have happened!). However, this arguable finding leads us to ask the question –Is it possible that human DNA, and other genetic material, could reach such a height? As readers of this website will know we base our claims that life is incoming to Earth partly on modelling studies which show that no particle larger than 5 microns can reach the stratosphere. Since the unusual, incoming biological entities isolated by us are between 10-40-plus microns in size we claim that they are incoming to rather than exiting from Earth (in addition no Earth contaminants, such as fungal spores, pollen and grass shards are ever found on the inside of our samplers). It is possible, however, that particles of the size of bacteria, viruses and sub-5 micron particles of human tissue, notably skin, could be elevated to the stratosphere. Considering the vast amount of micron or submicron-sized human and animal (as well as plant) material that exists on Earth (which is available to be carried into the atmosphere and then stratosphere) it would not be at all surprising to find human DNA at extreme heights. Of course human DNA abounds in the laboratory and Occam’s Razor will (with obvious justification) always be used by critics to claim that any reported findings of human DNA in the stratosphere results from contamination; indeed it would be difficult to imagine an experiment which could be set up to exclude such contamination (possibly sealed, automated robotic DNA amplifiers etc., which would exclude human-DNA contamination night be employed). For the moment we can only report our preliminary findings and hope that workers with such an automated system could look for human DNA on our sampler stubs.

We would be happy to launch a sampler specially treated to exclude human DNA for such a project. Even in the absence of conclusive evidence for the presence of human and other DNA in the stratosphere, I remain convinced that DNA will reach the stratosphere from Earth. It would then be subjected to the mutating (and DNA destructive) effects of UVC. Some of this material would be returned to Earth attached to larger, rapidly depositing particles of cosmic dust, while other DNA-rich particles would continue on their journey outwards. Such a conclusion opens up the remarkable possibility that DNA from Earth could be spread into the cosmos (perhaps protected by a coating of submicron dust or carbon particles).

Our latest balloon-lofted sampler was launched into the stratosphere above Fort Laramie, Wyoming, USA (launched by Sent into Space.com around the time of the recent solar eclipse). (more…)

At the age of 67 and after working continuously at the University of Sheffield for some 42 years I have decided to retire, largely because of antagonism, for my work by certain sections of the University and because funding has now dried up. Fortunately, we recently obtained funds from a private donor to do a launch above Wyoming in the US and once again found biological entities in the stratosphere. As before, these entities were not associated with pollen fungal spores or grass shards (this being particularly relevant above the Wyoming grasslands), which once again suggests that the biological entities isolated were not carried up from Earth but instead arrived from space. We are currently setting up a collaboration with workers in Sri Lank, arranged by our long-standing colleague, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, and hope thereby to continue our work. We have yet to hear of anyone having seriously attempted to replicate our work, despite the low costs involved and the relative ease with which this could be achieved. Reports of microbes on the ISS by Russian scientist might yet add such corroboration (Why is  NASA not commenting either way on this work?). This website has largely been operated by on one my ex-PhD students, now Dr Tareq Omairi, to whom I am extremely grateful. Tareq is now moving on in his career, so his Twitter and Facebook interactions may become less frequent.