I was never very good at exams, having a poor memory and finding the examination process rather artificial, and there never seemed to be enough time to follow up things that really interested me.
I had a great time investigating the pigments of different mutant fruit flies by following experimental protocols published in Scientific American, and I also remember making my own beetle collection when it was still acceptable to make such collections.
Scientific understanding is often beautiful, a profoundly aesthetic experience which gives pleasure not unlike the reading of a great poem.
I have an idealistic view of science as a liberalising and progressive force for humanity.
During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky.
It was during my time at secondary school that I abandoned religion.
Better understanding of the natural world not only enhances all of us as human beings, but can also be harnessed for the better good, leading to improved health and quality of life.
At age 11 in 1960, I moved to an academic state secondary school, Harrow County Grammar School for Boys.
I think it was this curiosity about the natural world which awoke my early interest in science.
I felt strongly that since the pursuit of good science was so difficult it was essential that the problem being studied was an important one to justify the effort expanded.
I met my wife Anne who was a sociology student, and her influence together with activities associated with the student movement of the time opened up my interests amongst other things into the theatre, art, music, politics and philosophy.
My main efforts focussed on trying to identify the rate controlling steps during the cell cycle. Crucial for this analysis were wee mutants that were advanced prematurely through the cell cycle and so divided at a reduced cell size.
Therefore, I reasoned that study of the cell cycle responsible for the reproduction of cells was important and might even be illuminating about the nature of life.
This time at Birmingham turned me into a general biologist, and ever since then I have always tried to take a biological approach to any research project that I have undertaken.
I decided that the University of Sussex in Brighton was a good place for this work because it had a strong tradition in bacterial molecular genetics and an excellent reputation in biology.
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