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Sir Colin L Berry
emeritus professor of morbid anatomy and histopathology at Queen Mary, University of London, and form member of the Medical Research Council

I was encouraged to take up science by a superb biology teacher, Frank Brightman, who was at Beckenham Grammar School and later at the Science Museum in London. I had been to Down House, and asked Brightman for details of Charles Darwin’s earthworm plate experiment and how it was really done.

We talked about what experiments were, and at one stage he said: ‘Why don’t you just try do it? That’s always the best way to find out.’ It’s a simple point, but it made me realise that asking questions is of no value, if you don’t have the will to devise a way to answer them. His encouragement also made it clear that persistence, when your first or subsequent attempts fail, is one of the cardinal virtues for a scientist.

Colin Berry is coauthor of The Pathology of Vessels (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and editor of Paediatric
(buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).