(Ed. note: After a distinguished career devoted to plant biochemistry and the study of vitamin synthesis, Trevor Goodwin retired in 1983 as Johnston Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool. He was highly influential in shaping the course of British science, serving in such key science groups as the University Grants Committee and the Council of the Royal Society. He also authored widely used textbooks and recently completed a history of the U.K Biochemical Society. Here, Goodwin, now 72, casts his eye backward on some of his most memorable early research.]

When I look back over more than 40 years of research and more than 400 papers, the investigation that always comes to mind first is one I carried out with Rod Gregory in 1946, very early in our careers.

Working together in a shabby basement laboratory in Liverpool, we demonstrated that in mammals vitamin A is formed from...

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