From an early age I was told that I was expected to do more than continue to run a small business. Education was important and seen as a way of moving forward.
I was a close observer of the developments in molecular biology.
Looking through the list of earlier Nobel laureates, I note a large number with whom I became acquainted and with whom I interacted during those years as they passed through Cambridge.
I am delighted to have had students, friends and colleagues in so many nations and to have learned so much of what I know from them. This Nobel Award honours them all.
At the age of 12, I developed an intense interest in mathematics. On exposure to algebra, I was fascinated by simultaneous equations and read ahead of the class to the end of the book.
I abandoned chemistry to concentrate on mathematics and physics. In 1942, I travelled to Cambridge to take the scholarship examination at Trinity College, received an award and entered the university in October 1943.
In the war, most young men were inducted into the armed forces at the age of 17. A group of students was permitted to attend university before taking part in wartime research projects.
On my return to Pittsburgh, I resolved to go back to the fundamental problems of electronic structure that I had contemplated abstractly many years earlier.
I had changed from being a mathematician to a practicing scientist. I was increasingly embarassed that I could no longer follow some of the more modern branches of pure mathematics.
Our children were mostly brought up and educated in the Churchill suburb east of Pittsburgh. Each summer, we took them back to England for an extended period.
I have had many opportunities to visit universities all over the world in the past 50 years.
Life with a scientist who is often changing jobs and is frequently away at meetings and on lecture tours is not easy. Without a secure home base, I could not have made much progress.
Leaving England was a painful decision, and we still have some regrets about it. However, at that time, the research environment for theoretical chemistry was clearly better in the U.S.
I was approaching the age of 40 with a substantial publication record, but had not yet held any position in a chemistry department.
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