Dr Hans George Epstein

Personal details

Dr Hans George Epstein

25/04/1909 to 01/08/2002

Place of birth: Berlin

Nationality: German

CRN: 528344

Also known as: Eppy or Ep


Education and qualifications

General education

Switzerland and Bavaria; University of Berlin

Primary medical qualification(s)

Epstein was a physicist, and did not have a medical qualification.

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

His primary qualification was a doctorate in physics from the Department of Physical Chemistry, Berlin University, gaining the ‘very rare distinction’ of summa cum laude in 1934

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

In the 1930s Dr Epstein moved to England and worked briefly in London before going to Oxford to pursue his scientific research. Initially he was employed at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford at the suggestion of the first Nuffield Professor of Anaesthetics, Professor Macintosh. At the outbreak of WW2 Epstein was attached to the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics. He retired in 1976.

Professional interests and activities

It was in Oxford that Epstein began specialising in research and development in anaesthesia, initially working with Macintosh to develop a portable, but reliable vapouriser for use on the battlefield. It was essential that individuals with no (MINIMAL??) medical training could use the apparatus safely and effectively, and the result was the Oxford Vaporizer. During the war Epstein also helped to develop other products, such as life jackets for airmen, but his principle interest and expertise remained the development of anaesthetic inhalers/vapourisers. In 1956 the Epstein Macintosh Oxford (EMO) inhaler was released and a later version, the EMOTRIL, was specifically designed for the use of trichloroethylene for obstetric analgesia. During the 1950s and 1960s he developed a global reputation as a leader in this field, being an informative and entertaining lecturer. He had a particular interest in the history of the development of anaesthesia, but his most memorable lectures and demonstrations were on the subject of anaesthetic explosions. With Macintosh, Epstein co-wrote Physics for the Anaesthetist, hailed as a seminal resource for anaesthetists, three editions being published between 1946 and 1963. They were joined by Prof Mushin for the fourth and subsequent edition. The latter part of his career, and part of his retirement, was spent conducting research for the medical apparatus manufacturer Penlon.

Other biographical information

Epstein married Vera Doreen Crozier in Hampstead in 1945, and they had two sons. Outside his interest in science, he was a keen cyclist, and was a connoisseur of good food and wine.

Author and Sources

Author: Dr E Anne Thornberry

Sources and any other comments: The Wellcome Library Archives and Manuscripts. Findmypast.co.uk – England & Wales marriages 1837 – 2008 transcriptions