A favourite aphorism of the young McKie was Lord Rutherford’s tripartite division of the Natural Sciences. There was Physics; then there was Chemistry; and the rest was Stamp Collecting. Duncan may never have collected postage stamps, but he seemed to collect almost everything else, and in this he was indulging not mere cumulomania, but an intense interest in most things around him. It was in fact his flair in the collection of rocks and minerals – developed during wartime evacuation to Cornwall and Wales – that became a potent factor setting his life path. This might have availed him little...

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