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1992 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of the first paper on the production of cancer by pure hydrocarbons, by the team at the Chester Beatty Research Institute headed by Professor Kennaway. Studies on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemical carcinogens continued to thrive under his leadership in succeeding years at the Chester Beatty and beyond, into his 'retirement' in 1946. He played a key role in stimulating research on factors contributing to the epidemic of lung cancer that became apparent by then, and with the support of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and other organizations he directed a small team working on analytical and epidemiological studies in a makeshift laboratory at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Published work included the identification and determination of benzo(a)pyrene in domestic soot, urban air pollution, motor vehicle exhausts and cigarette smoke, also arsenic in urban air and cigarette smoke, radon in indoor air and carbon deposits in human lungs. Such studies have been pursued in other laboratories around the world since then, and many of the lines of enquiry are traceable back to the pioneering work of the team at the Chester Beatty 60 years ago.