IN THE SUMMER of 1966, Ivan Bodis-Wollner, a medical student on vacation from the University of Vienna, went to Budapest to visit his uncle.
The uncle was complaining of deteriorating vision. But a visual acuity test indicated that his vision had not undergone any change.
Later than summer, Bodis-Wollner, concerned about the complaint, convinced his uncle to see a neurologist. That neurologist discovered a brain tumor. The uncle died soon after surgery.
The next year, Bodis-Wollner (who is now a physician and professor of ophthalmology and neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York), received a graduate studies scholarship in neurophysiology at Cambridge University in England. While there, sentiment (the memory of how his favorite uncle's tumor had affected vision) and circumstances (he had a chance to work with three physiologists who were doing research on the visual system) dovetailed, providing Bodis-Wollner with the opportunity to