I describe my gradually evolving role as a scientist from my birth in Frankfurt (Germany) to my education in the UK, my post-doc years and my experiences as an independent investigator at Purdue University1. I discuss the significance of my post-doctoral work in Minnesota where I had my first encounter with an electronic computer and subsequently in Cambridge where I participated in the first structure determination of proteins. After six years back in England my family moved to Indiana (USA) where my home remains to this day. At Purdue University I first studied the structure of enzymes and in the process I discovered the organization and slow evolution of protein domains, each with a specific function. With this success I started what had been on my mind already for a long time, namely the structural analysis of viruses. Initially we studied plant viruses but then switched to small RNA animal viruses, discovering that some plant and animal RNA viruses have closely similar structures and therefore presumably had a common evolutionary origin. Next I became interested in somewhat larger viruses that had lipid membrane envelopes. In turn that has led to the study of very large dsDNA viruses as big as small bacteria as well as studies of bacterial viruses that require complex molecular motors for different parts of their life cycle. While developing crystallographic techniques for the study of viruses it has become progressively more apparent that electron microscopy is an important new tool that is likely to eclipse x-ray crystallography in the next decade.