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Geoffrey Burnstock
professor of anatomy at University College London, director of the Autonomic Neuroscience Institute, and editor-in-chief of Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical and Purinergic Signalling

The first hint that I might have scientific curiosity was when, at the age of five, I thought I had discovered oxygen by seeing tiny particles when looking through half-closed eyes at the air – an observation that I kept secret for several years.

I was brought up in a boxing family, but it seemed preferable to try to get educated. I turned out to be better at science than at arts. I became fascinated with designing experiments to solve problems early on, so I became orientated towards research, which has been an overwhelming passion ever since.

The possibility that every day something new could be discovered is a huge incentive in science, compared to many jobs that essentially involve maintenance activity. After a few years in science, reading about great scientists such as Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Santiago Ramón y Cajal was undoubtedly inspiring.

Geoffrey Burnstock is coeditor of Cardiovascular Biology of Purines (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Nitric Oxide in Health and Disease (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See his website.