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Sir Ernst Chain

3 of 8 portraits of Sir Ernst Chain

Sir Ernst Chain, by Lotte Laserstein, 1945 - NPG 5989 - © estate of Lotte Laserstein

© estate of Lotte Laserstein

Sir Ernst Chain

by Lotte Laserstein
oil on canvas, 1945
25 3/4 in. x 31 5/8 in. (654 mm x 803 mm)
Purchased, 1988
Primary Collection
NPG 5989


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With the Australian pathologist Howard Florey, the German-born Chain worked on Alexander Fleming's initial discovery of penicillin, eventually succeeding in purifying it, thus opening the way for its chemical synthesis. For their work on penicillin the three bio-chemists, Fleming, Florey and Chain received the Nobel Prize in 1945.

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Current affairs

Despite Churchill's popularity during, and indeed after, the War, Clement Attlee wins a landslide Labour victory in the general election. Labour's success was due to its promise of a better society through the Welfare state, and was demonstrative of the public's desire for a new and better post-War society.

Art and science

Noel Coward's Brief Encounter is released. The film, based on Coward's play, Still Life, is about the love affair between two married people who meet at a railway station. Conscious of the risk of being caught the couple decide to break off their relationship to protect their marriages. George Orwell publishes his satirical novel Animal Farm, as an allegorical critique of Soviet Totalitarianism.

International

A war on two fronts finally proves too much for Germany as allied forces push from the East and West. On the 30th April Hitler committed suicide and Germany soon surrendered to Soviet troops. Victory in Europe was announced on the 8th May. War in the Pacific continued until America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 214,000 people, and ending the war with Japan.

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