Professor George Gray, who died in August 1999, had a notable career as a pioneer electron microscopist of neural tissues. His name is still attached to synapses, which can be classified as Gray type 1 (symmetric) or type 2 (asymmetric), and in addition he made a number of other profound contributions to our knowledge of synaptic structures.He started his academic career late, having worked before the second World War as a bank clerk, and then serving in the Navy, patrolling for U-boats in the North Sea and Atlantic for 4 years during the latter part of the war. He had an early interest in zoology, particularly in marine biology and microscopy and when he left the Navy he took the opportunity to work for a degree in Zoology at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. A first class honours degree was followed by a PhD on melanophores in teleosts. It was fortunate that the external examiner for the thesis was J. Z. Young, who was impressed by the work and by George, and who invited George to work as his assistant in the preparation of The Life of the Mammals in the Anatomy Department at University College London.