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  1. It was during my time at secondary school that I abandoned religion.
  2. At age 11 in 1960, I moved to an academic state secondary school, Harrow County Grammar School for Boys.
  3. 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.
  4. During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky.
  5. Scientific understanding is often beautiful, a profoundly aesthetic experience which gives pleasure not unlike the reading of a great poem.
  6. It has been a privilege to pursue knowledge for its own sake and to see how it might help mankind in more practical ways.
  7. 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.
  8. My parents were neither wealthy nor academic, but we lived comfortably and they were always extremely supportive of my academic efforts and aspirations, both at school and university.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. I was by far the youngest of the family, and at times it was like being an only child.
  12. I am still a keen mountain walker and an enthusiastic glider pilot.
  13. A key issue in developmental biology at that time was the problem of how cells underwent differentiation, with most workers concentrating on explanations in terms of changes in enzyme and gene regulation.
  14. 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.
  15. I have an idealistic view of science as a liberalising and progressive force for humanity.
  16. I think it was this curiosity about the natural world which awoke my early interest in science.
  17. 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.
  18. My 6 years with Murdoch were pivotal for my entire research career.
  19. This possibility bothered me as I thought it was not advisable to remain in one academic environment, and the long dark winters in Edinburgh could be rather dismal.

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