A combination of factors got me hooked on science. It probably began with my father, who taught mathematics at technical college. Then there was the shiny, optimistic vision of science in the 1960s, which was incredibly seductive. Like every schoolboy, I could not get enough of the Apollo moon landings and the remarkable escape in Apollo 13 – which, if anything, seems even more incredible all these decades later.
I was lucky that at school my chemistry teacher – Glyn James – always went beyond what we were supposed to be taught, and strayed into subjects like quantum mechanics. His efforts, plus all the dangerous demonstrations and explosions allowed at that time, led me to study chemistry at university. My doctorate was inspired by the thought of being able to jet off to Grenoble a couple of times each year to bounce neutrons off soap bubbles, and to work my way through one menu compris after another – and gallons of wine – on civil service expenses.
Roger Highfield is coauthor of After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).