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My parents were born in Norfolk and spent their early years working in the big houses of that rural English county, my mother as a cook and my father as a handyman and chauffeur.
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.
My 6 years with Murdoch were pivotal for my entire research career.
Like many students, I found the drudgery of real experiments and the slowness of progress a complete shock, and at my low points I contemplated other alternative careers including study of the philosophy or sociology of science.
It was during my time at secondary school that I abandoned religion.
It has been a privilege to pursue knowledge for its own sake and to see how it might help mankind in more practical ways.
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.
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