Science does not offer a quiet life. Imagination, creativity, ambition, and conflict are as vital and abundant in science as in artistic endeavours. In this delightful collection of essays, Nobel Laureate Max Perutz writes about the pursuit of scientific knowledge, which he sees as an enterprise providing not just a few facts but cause for reflection and revelation. This book contains detective stories, tales of conflict and battle, a woman's love affair with crystals, a man's gruesome fascination with poison gas, perils both phantom and real, and entertaining glimpses of Perutz's own long and exceptional life. Perutz views science as a passionate enterprise and the pursuit of knowledge as a sortie into the unknown: these essays explore a remarkable range of topics, both scientific and personal, with the lucidity and precision that he brought to his own pioneering work in protein crystallography.