Excerpts from the autobiography
Experimental Eye Research (1998) 66:147-154

"The author has done pretty much what he wanted to do throughout his professional life. Little harm resulted. A few findings may survive."

"In order to frustrate the ambitions of my father, my object in life became to be a failure. That I am writing this piece suggests that even in this modest endeavour I was not completely successful."

"Moreover, my administrative skills, although based soundly on the twin pillars of delegation and recrimination, have never been in heavy demand, I suppose principally because I lack the talent for maintaining an air of solemnity for more than a few minutes at a time."

"Having fresh ideas has never seemed a problem; in my youth they tended to torture me as I lay in bed. If I admit to any professional failing, it is starting too many projects in moments of enthusiasm and then abandoning them. A laboratory that is advertised as providing a stimulating environment, strikes me as potentially disastrous."

"Unlike many colleagues, I have enjoyed renewing my applications because it has been an opportunity to unbottle my imagination."

"It is dispiriting that in spite of my efforts to achieve clarity and concision, my colleagues sometimes grumble that my style is opaque, and malicious reviewers have accused me of being ungrammatical and perpetrating run-on sentences, although I confess to having no fixed system of punctuation, I deny the latter charge."

"It can be noted that I have nearly always carried out research solo or in collaboration with one other colleague, or perhaps two. I have had the luxury of picking topics that I could believe were within the range of my skills. I may have been touched by hubris but a more direct influence was Hugh Davson."

"Perhaps, more important than the imaginative and competent papers in evaluating someone's scientific status are the number of dull or silly ones. Anyone might occasionally have the good fortune to conceive a felicitous idea but intelligent people should manage to avoid stupidity at all times."

"During my 50 years in the field, I must have used my eyes in experiments on well over 1000 occasions. Nearly always they have been free of risk, but two stand out as being criminally rash, committed while my mind was racing but apparently with a slipping clutch."

"A few models have gained the status of theories and it is these that provide the most satisfaction. The principal example is the overall construct of the cornea in which the endothelial pump confers transparency and mechanical stability on the stroma by compressing it. I retain a special affection, because it was my first born, frail, and adopted by strangers, for the hypothesis that ions cross the cellular layers of the cornea through the paracellular spaces."