It’s Easter week, so here’s an egg-themed (chicken) nugget nestling in the photo album of the Division of Immunology (JOH/3/2), part of the newly-acquired John Herbert Humphrey research papers. As noted in an earlier blog post, Humphrey (1915-1987) was an immunologist who was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1963; his papers were donated by the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research earlier this year.


‘The egg and I’ by unknown photographer, c.1950s, from the photo album of the Division of Immunology (JOH/3/2)


The clipping, of a newspaper article by Chapman Pincher, is pasted in amongst the laboratory photos and tells the story of Henrietta the white leghorn hen. In a collaborative project involving Humphrey and ‘Dr. J. R. Catch, the atom scientist’, Henrietta was fed the radioactive substance carbon-14 as part of an experiment to investigate how people build up resistance to germs. You can read the full story in the clipping below, but sadly (spoiler alert) it doesn’t have a happy hen-ding…



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