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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 was by far the youngest of the family, and at times it was like being an only child.
I think it was this curiosity about the natural world which awoke my early interest in science.
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.
I have an idealistic view of science as a liberalising and progressive force for humanity.
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.
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 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.
I am still a keen mountain walker and an enthusiastic glider pilot.
During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky.
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.
After an extensive interview he arranged for my weaknesses in foreign languages to be over-looked and so I started a Biology degree at Birmingham in 1967.
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