A first meeting with Alec Bangham would leave an impression of a larger-than-life scientist with a penetrating curiosity and formidable features characteristically portrayed in the dramatic portrait painted by his nephew, Humphrey Bangham, which currently hangs in one of the Royal Society’s rooms. Or, as Jeffrey Watkins (FRS) experienced on reaching the Institute of Animal Physiology at Babraham in September 1963, ‘at the moment of my arrival he was avidly peering down a microscope and excitedly proclaiming the wonders of myelin figures as viewed through crossed polaroids … [and that] they might prove useful as model systems for the study of structure and function in biological membranes. It was decided that I should work immediately along these lines.’ So what were the formative events that led to these first impressions? What had contributed to the formation of a scientist who became known worldwide as the father of liposomes, the inventor of Artificial Lung Expanding Compound (ALEC)—and someone who never stopped thinking about membranes, surfactant, anaesthetics, cricket, vegetables, family and friends?
- This publication is © 2011 The Royal Society