My inspiration was most likely due to three influences.
- The influence of my father can be identified early on, as he had two abiding interests. First, he had studied timber technology at the University of Manchester, and was himself working in the timber trade. Second, he was an amateur radio enthusiast, who was always building himself radio transmitters and receivers. Very early on, I remember getting a present from him of two books – one on physics, and one on the botany of trees. He told me to read both of them together.
- At school, I was lucky to have a gifted biology teacher. Each week, he took one period and indulged us in his own particular interests at the time. He would pick a book or an article that he was interested in, and then for homework we would have to read a chapter and then discuss it in class. Books included The Theory of Evolution, by the evolutionary biologist and geneticist John Maynard Smith; and Beyond Freedom and Dignity, by the psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner.
- The other hugely influential aspect was TV, with programmes like David Attenborough’s The World About Us, Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, and Bryan Magee’s Men of Ideas.
See Keith Davies’ website.