Brian Blundell Boycott was an outstanding zoologist and neurobiologist. His early research (1947–52), at the Anatomy Department of University College London and at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, Italy, was on learning and memory in cephalopods and the functional architecture of the octopus brain. From 1952 to 1970 he was a teacher of zoology and later neurobiology at University College London (Zoology Department). Brian's research interests changed in the early 1960s, when he began studying the mammalian retina. Over a period of 35 years he produced many seminal papers that laid the foundation for our modern understanding of the cell types and synaptic connections that form the basis of parallel processing in the retina. In 1970 Brian moved to the Medical Research Council (MRC) Biophysics Unit at King's College London, from which he retired as Director at the end of 1989. He continued to be an active researcher at Guy's Hospital Medical School (1990–97) and in the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London (1997–2000). Brian was a modest and kind person, generous in sharing ideas and material; he liked to interact and cooperate with other people and was very supportive of young scientists.