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Sir Ernst Boris Chain
Ernst Boris Chain 1945.jpg
Ernst Boris Chain (1945)
Born (1906-06-19)19 June 1906
Berlin, Germany
Died 12 August 1979(1979-08-12) (aged 73)
Castlebar, Ireland
Citizenship German (until 1939)
British (from 1939)
Alma mater Friedrich Wilhelm University
Known for The development of Penicillin
Spouse(s) Anne Beloff-Chain (m. 1948–1979, his death)
Children Benjamin and Danny
Awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1945)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1948)
Knight Bachelor(1969)
Scientific career
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Imperial College London
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
Istituto Superiore di Sanità

Sir Ernst Boris Chain, FRS (19 June 1906 – 12 August 1979) was a German-born British biochemist.

He shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, with Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey, for the discovery of penicillin and how it could cure bacterial infections. Later he worked on the chemical structure of penicillin and other natural antibiotics.

Chain was Jewish, and moved to England in 1933. In 1939 he took British citizenship, and was knighted in 1969.

He won many awards: he was made a Commander of the Légion d'Honneur and awarded the Grande Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.

Life and career

Chain was born in Berlin, the son of Margarete (née Eisner) and Michael Chain, who was a chemist and industrialist dealing in chemical products. His family was Jewish. His father emigrated from Russia to study chemistry abroad and his mother was from Berlin. In 1930, he received his degree in chemistry from Friedrich Wilhelm University. He left Nazi Germany and worked at universities and laboratories in England.

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