Nicholas Maxwell, of the University of London, has been a prolific writer on knowledge and wisdom for many years. He offers an original and inspiring combination of intellectual rigour and concern for the human condition, in the great tradition of Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper. His development and critique of Popper's ideas should be a growing point for further development. I am pleased and proud to welcome him to this venue.
Nicholas was imbued early in life with the will to explore and understand the innermost secrets of the universe. He explored the secrets of the external world in modern physics and he sought the secrets of the inner world in great works of imaginative literature. After a spell in national service, he described himself as a failed physicist, mathematician and novelist so he went back to Manchester University to study philosophy (when all else fails...). He found that the triviality of the concerns in the profession at that time rendered him virtually speechless but he discovered in Popper's work a concern with the big issues that renewed his enthusiasm.