Monday, September 3, 2012

Former OXFORD UNIVERSITY chemist found - in National Portrait Gallery !

its all about this gold
Congratulations to Wolfgang Suschitzky , honored with a retrospective of his best known photographs at Britain's National Portait Gallery - including the un-butchered , original, version of his most enduring image.

The world famous photographer turned 100 this month !

And the missing chemist?

He is Wilson Baker, a former Oxford University chemist associated with  Big Science's highly expensive failure to synthesis penicillin during WWII.

 He went missing from one of science's iconic of all photos, after he rather 'blotted his Oxford copybook' by daring to go off to work at another university.

Iit all began back in 1944 when photographer Suschitzky took a series of still photos ,to accompany an ICL-sponsored motion film on the triumph of wartime penicillin.

The film was actually a form of a rear guard action to regain some of the "life-saving penicillin" glory for Britain, after the American soda pop supplier, Charles Pfizer and Sons, became the first firm in the world to truly mass produce penicillin.

They did it the natural way, as long advocated by their associate,  Dr Martin Henry Dawson.It is still the way we produce penicillin.

In the most famous shot in the penicillin still series (NPG P562) , a group of four of Oxford's best wartime chemists pose around a table.

They include Nobel prize winners Sir Robert Robinson and Sir Ernst Chain  and Sir Edward Abraham  (a co-developer of our most used family of antibiotics, a close relative of penicillin).

And then Wilson Baker himself, who had to settle for a FRS instead of a knighthood, perhaps because he was a committed Quaker and pacifist during WWII.

"The Chemist Vanishes...."

But ,as recounted earlier in SVE's earlier rendering, sometime after Baker 'left the family firm' , the Oxford University's copy of this famous image was butchered.

Butchered seemingly by the same high quality photo re-touchers who butchered similar photos for Stalin, after this or that former Commissar was 'liquidated', like Bain closing a factory, and had to be removed from all historical photos .

Out went Wilson and in went a cutout image of Oxford's most famous bio-tech son , Sir Howard Florey .

Florey came in via a photo scissored out crudely from another famous post-event re-staged photo : Florey and his faithful retainer needling some poor little mouse in a cage.

The resulting image never looked to be designed to avoid detection.

The fame of the mousing photo, together with the crudity of the inked backfilling to help to the final photo "jell" , ensured that anyone at all familiar with the history of penicillin would quickly detect it.

However Britain's notorious libel laws - even more favorable to the rich and powerful than those of Hitler's Germany, together with Oxford University's deep pockets for big libel law firms - ensures that no one, least of all Skygods vs earthlings , would ever call this a case of  plagiarism.

Yes plagiarism , albeit allegedly done by a university itself instead of one of its young students.

Since Oxford won't do the right thing, it is very nice that the National Portrait Gallery made the original photo - with the original Wilson Baker back in - its featured photo of the month....

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