Ernst Chain Dead at 73

Ernst Boris Chain, the German-born biochemist who shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for his work in isolating penicillin, died Sunday in Ireland at the age of 73, it was announced here by the University of London. The Jewish scientist who was educated in Berlin and earned his PhD in chemistry in 1930 left Germany in 1933 after Hitler came to power. Chain, who became a naturalized British citizen in 1939, did much of his research of Oxford University with Sir Howard Florey. They continued earlier research by Sir Alexander Fleming, and the three shared the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine.

Chain, who received honorary degrees from Yeshiva University in New York in 1948 and its Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1961, was an honorary fellow of the Weizmann institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

Chain, who had been at the University of London’s Imperial College of Science and Technology since 1963, was chairman of the World Health Organization after World War II. He was in Czechoslovakia to supervise penicillin development when Communists took power in 1946. Three years later, he was denied a visa to enter the United States, apparently because of his work in Czechoslovakia. He said later he worked there because he was more interested in health than politics.

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