At first one is very pleased at being invited to write a Prefatory Chapter, but as the delivery deadline draws closer one begins to think, “Oh my God! What on earth can I say that all but family members and few close friends will not find a great bore?” One solution is to write a scientific essay, but I concluded that that was a cop-out. I decided that perhaps the best tack to follow was to try to convey to the reader the personal characteristics I bring to my science and to other aspects of my professional career. The writing of this chapter has certainly convinced me that my particular background influenced what problems I chose to work on and how I approached their solution, but I hope that my results have a more ecumenical significance. There's been much written recently about how one's cultural background affects one's science, but I think that thesis can also be exaggerated. Science is a method of inquiry that by using certain guidelines permits rational individuals to observe Nature in a way that their findings will agree and have permanence. We shouldn't be diffident about defending that claim of objectivity.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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