I retired from Duke University in 1988 and so did Jacqueline, who was by then an independent full professor and a powerful force in university affairs, something that I had never been.
Our retirement was a complete break: we burned our bridges behind us, both geographically and professionally. We sold our home, packed our bags and sailed off into the unknown - quite literally, for we did not know where in England we would eventually settle.We made no new academic connections, though there would have been opportunities aplenty, had we so desired. We have never again worked in a laboratory or developed new theories or wrote reviews at the cutting edge of current research.
Which does not mean we were idle. On the contrary, we made plans for two major projects:
1. A travel guide to places in Europe that were associated with the lives of great scientists of the past or that were sites of special scientific interest in a more general way - institutions, archaeological or geological features, etc. We had always enjoyed traveling, especially in Europe, and had been annoyed by the one-sidedness of most travel guides, which tend to extol the virtues of liberating revolutionaries, battle heroes, architects, painters, and politicians, but almost invariably ignore scientists and scientific discoveries that merit equal prominence in popular culture. We wanted to remedy this by providing appropriate raw material for writers of guide books to enable them to appreciate the rich heritage of science and hopefully to transmit some of it to their readers.
2. In a more scholarly vein, we wanted to write a history of the subject that we had spent most of our lives working on, namely proteins: their chemistry, structure, function, and genetics. By the time we actually got going on this project, proteins had catapulted to a position of stupendous prominence on the world scene, and we were urged to modify our goal, to write about the future: designer proteins, the marvelous feats which proteins could hope to accomplish with the aid of genetic manipulation. But we stuck to original intent. We wanted to write the history. Proteins had been perceived to be capable of marvelous feats long before what we now achieve by purposeful engineering - we wanted to put that past into perspective for today's reader.
Writing the travel book  took us all over Europe, for we found that the roots of science are not confined to places that we now see as its most fertile ground. Moreover, we absorbed a great deal of general European history in the process, both old and new. We were in Germany when East and West were still divided, before the Berlin wall came down. We managed to get to Greece before too many sun-seeking tourists arrived to spoil the view. Poland gave us Copernicus, nearly 500 years ago, and the country today takes pride in his pioneering achievement with well-planned memorials in Frombork, Lidzbark Warminski, and Torun. (The official guidebook to the area existed only in the Polish language at the time we visited there, and we had to translate it laboriously with the aid of a dictionary from our local library.) Poland also brought us face to face with Auschwitz, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article - an unsavory truth with scientific overtones that it would be folly to ignore.
In Greece, of course, we were able to go much further back in time than Copernicus. To the imposing statue of Aristotle, erected close to where he was born in Stagira in 384 B.C., to the first profit-making health center founded by Hippocrates on the island of Kos in about 360 B.C., and to the island of Samos, which was the home of Pythogaras (where presumably, among other achievements, he first squared the hypotenuse) and the home of the astronomer Aristarchus, who had proposed a heliocentric solar system 1500 years before Copernicus.
Cemeteries were a rich source of material. In Vienna's Zentralfriedhof we found Ludwig Boltzmann, one of our personal heroes in the struggle for recognition of the atomic-molecular picture of matter, interred here alongside some of Vienna's famous musicians: Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and Strauss. Boltzmann's tombstone bears the famous legend "S — k log W' the equation that links atoms and molecules to undifferentiated "matter." Gottingen's town cemetery is another prestigious resting place. It contains the tombs of many famous physicists and physical chemists, one of whom (Walther Nernst) required much family pressure and two less prestigious interments before he made it to this place of honor.
And there's Neanderthal, close to Düsseldorf, where the remains of our beetle-browed eponymous ancestor were discovered during quarrying operations in 1830. Cave paintings and relics of a somewhat more modern ancestor, Cro-Magnon man, are celebrated in the Dordogne in France. Stonehenge man was even more modern than that (his skeletons would be indistinguishable from ours), but here we have an enigma regarding the provenance and the social significance of the familiar stone circles. There are similar stone circles further north in the British Isles, e.g. on Orkney Island. Places of unforgettable natural beauty and inviting deep questions about prehistoric science - prehistoric in the sense that we have no written history, only the stones themselves.
These notes give just a tiny fraction of the places we visited, but should suffice to convey that we ranged far and wide and that we had an enjoyable time in doing so. The book was quite successful and Geoff Farrell, the editor at Wiley's Chichester branch, asked us to write a follow-up limited to Britain and Ireland alone. His instructions were to see if we could find a scientifically interesting site within walking distance of every Marks and Spencer shop, and we had come reasonably close to that when the book was finished in 1994 .
In Britain we visited John Dalton's birthplace in Cumbria and Isaac Newton's in Lincolnshire; Charles Darwin's house in Kent and his grandfather Erasmus's in Staffordshire; Jenner's Temple of Vaccinia in Gloucestershire; the Greenwich Observatory and Michael Faraday's magnetic laboratory in London; James Clerk Maxwell's school in Edinburgh. We became aware of many less famous scholars and of scientific endeavor in more obscure places: Jeremiah Horrocks, curate of St. Michael's Church in Much Hoole, Lancashire, who correctly predicted the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in 1639 and confirmed his prediction with home-made equipment; Mary Anning, teenage beachcomber, who discovered the first complete skeleton of a giant marine lizard at Lyme Regis in Dorset in 1811 and sold it to the British Museum for »25; John Napier,
Scottish laird, who discovered the utility of logarithms, but even before that had invented a simple multiplication aid, called 'Napier's bones.'
Britain's public houses proved useful to us in writing this second guide, for we often didn't know whether there would be a monument or even a memory where one might logically be expected. The publican usually knew: ''There's a pile of stones up on the village green -1 think that's the man you want"And it usually was, though sometimes we were directed to seek out so-and-so down the road and got the desired information from that source.
Only once do I remember this approach to fail altogether, at the Eagle pub in Cambridge, frequented by Watson and Crick, where Francis Crick reports he went on the day in 1953 when the DNA structure was solved and announced it to the customers with the words ''We have just solved the secret of life.'' When we were there in 1994, the pub had just reopened after being been closed for renovation - surely the right time for installation of a memorial plaque. We never did find out whether one has been or was going to be put up. When we asked the barman, his reply was: ''Who did you say? Watson and Crick? Never heard of them.''
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