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1. Tony Campbell
Tony Campbell had a eureka moment in the Marine Biological Association lab at Plymouth in 1973. He was trying to extract a bioluminescent protein from the hydroid Obelia geniculata. It just was not working. By 9 pm he was about to give up. But he decided to carry out one final experiment, by extracting the hydroid in different pH’s. Eureka! It worked. The oscilloscope screen used to detect the light from his extract was wiped out. He jumped around in delight! Bioluminescence really did have the wow factor! This experiment changed his life, and career, for ever! He realised that a flash was better than a glow. This eureka moment, when no one else was there, led him to develop a way of replacing radioactive antibody and DNA labels with a chemical that emitted light. This technique is now used in several hundred million clinical tests per year world wide. He also realised he could use the DNA from these bioluminescent animals to light up chemical processes in living cells and whole organisms, such as calcium signals that control the whole of life. This has revolutionised biomedical research and drug discovery. His eureka moment has led to the creation of three individual billion dollar markets, with jobs for thousands of scientists. It also inspired him to set up The Darwin Centre in Wales, and The Young Darwinian.
Curiosity inspires, but discovery reveals.