Pasteur's dictum "Chance favors the prepared mind" is in my experience a truism, but! would add that whether the mind is prepared may itself be a matter of chance. It certainly was in my case. I became a chemist because of a rather poor chemistry teacher at my secondary school. Later in life he became director of education for Lancashire and was knighted, which is perhaps only another illustration that an indifferent understanding of chemistry is not necessarily a bar to advancement in other fields of endeavor! In my eyes his unforgivable sin against education was that, when presented with a question the answer to which eluded him, he would not reply, as excellent teachers will, "I don't know. Let us see if we can find out together." Instead he would not admit ignorance but would fob off the interrogator with a wholly unsatisfactory verbal avalanche.

I had to escape...

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