Alfred Chester Beatty was a brilliant British businessman who was the Chairman of Selection Trust Ltd., sold at the time of his retirement for a sum said to have represented the largest financial transaction in British commercial history.
His father, of the same name, is much better known, through the Chester Beatty Cancer Research Institute in London and the Chester Beatty Art Gallery in Dublin. Chester Beatty Sr made his own fortune out of mining precious metals and the son expanded on this using scientific exploration techniques that led to an increased rate of discovery of precious metal deposits.
He had a great love of horses and was a master of foxhounds. And an art connoisseur. Van Gogh painted several copies of the Sunflowers. Chester Beatty bought one in the early 1930s for a few thousand pounds. When it was sold, after Mr. Beatty's death, it achieved a record for the sale price of any painting up to that date.
His interest in the precious metals led him into biochemistry where he became fascinated with the Krebsâ€™ Cycle and carried out theoretical investigations which convinced him that Krebs was wrong on a certain number of points. W. J. Whelan, then General Secretary of the IUB, was introduced to Mr. Beatty via his physician and got to know him quite well such that in 1978 Mr. Beatty gave the IUB a sum of money that permanently endowed the Chester Beatty Plenary Lecture, given at each IUB/IUBMB Congress since 1979.