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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Elizabeth Blackburn, 2011

Hugh Hamilton

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.3 cm, image: 37.6 cm x 28.3 cm)

Elizabeth Blackburn AC (b. 1948) shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009. Born in Hobart, she gained her master's degree from the University of Melbourne before heading to Cambridge in the early 1970s, then to Yale in 1975. She joined the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of California in Berkeley in 1978. At a conference in 1980, she announced her discovery of a repeated DNA sequence at the ends of chromosomes of a single-celled organism. Since then she has unravelled the mystery of the telomere, a protective structure or 'cap' at the end of the chromosome. As organisms age, the telomeres fray and degrade, like the aglets on shoelaces. In 1984 she and Carol Greider, who had been her doctoral student, confirmed the existence of an enzyme, telomerase, which replenishes the telomere. Blackburn moved to the University of California San Francisco in 1990. In 2001 she was appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics, but after criticising the stance of the Bush administration on embryonic stem cell science she was controversially dropped. President of the American Association for Cancer Research in 2010, she has received the Heineken Prize, the Lasker Award and the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science as well as the Nobel Prize.

Hugh Hamilton (b. 1957) is an Australian-born Los Angeles- based photographer. Amongst his scores of portrait subjects are many Australians. He photographed Blackburn in a boardroom at Microsoft's Mountain View campus.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2011
© Hugh Hamilton/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2011.58

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Hugh Hamilton (age 54 in 2011)

Elizabeth Blackburn AC (age 63 in 2011)

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.