Dr. Paul Dear was born in Surrey, England - his mother's American, and his father (now deceased) was English; he grew up in Hampshire (southern England). He did Natural Sciences (basically a mix of biology, chemistry and math) at Cambridge University, then did a PhD. in molecular biology at Oxford. He now works at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, which is a part of the UK Medical Research Council (a government-funded research organization, roughly equivalent to the NIH in the 'States). The LMB is the lab where Crick and Watson discovered the DNA double helix, and the lab has about a dozen Nobel prizewinners. He currently leads a research team in genomics (DNA-based research) working on things ranging from cancer to ancient DNA (mammoths). He says “I've always been drawn towards physics and engineering, though I don't have a degree in either. My attitude in general is that complex problems can be solved by a combination of naive optimism and ingenuity, rather than by money and big resources alone. The N-Prize started out as an idea of mine on the Halfbakery (www.halfbakery.com), a website where people bounce around crazy ideas. I posted the N-Prize there, initially as a hypothetical exercise. But, after some arguing back and forth, I figured it might actually be possible, so I put up the prize money and launched the website.