My elementary education was at Christ Church infant school and St. Stephen's junior school. At St. Stephen's, I encountered my first real mentor, the headmaster Mr. Broakes. He must have spotted something unusual in me, for he spent lots of time encouraging my interest in mathematics.
Growing up as a kid, in elementary and middle school, I was always getting in trouble. Always getting suspended. I got suspended for 90 days for fighting beginning my freshman year, so I missed Homecoming, and that's when I turned the page. I went on honor roll and had good grades after that. It was the changing point.
When I was in elementary school, I was very interested in science already. I must have been ten or eleven years old. I started experiments with chemistry sets at my home in Mexico. I was able to borrow a bathroom and convert it to a laboratory. My parents supported it. They were pleased. My friends just tolerated it.
I grew up, as I joke around, in the 'People's Republic of Charlestown' in the city of Boston. And I was blessed to be raised right there on Monument Square in Charlestown, and every morning I'd hop on the bus and go on a 45-minute ride out to the suburbs in Brooklyn for elementary school. And I got to have my seat, really, in both worlds.