Taxi driver's '˜guest book' contains biggest names in science

A taxi driver has amassed a remarkable 'guest book' throughout his career which now contains signatures from the biggest names in science.

Dundee University driver Davie Douglas and his guest book which features dozens of scientists including 12 Nobel Prize winners. Picture: Deadline News

Davie Douglas, 69, has worked for the School of Life Sciences at Dundee University for the past 20 years.

His main job is ferrying researchers on the 90-minute trip from the university to Edinburgh airport when they fly abroad for conferences.

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He began to collect their signatures in a guest book which was given to him by a friend as a birthday present.

Now his book contains hundreds of notes from scientists from all over the world including 12 Nobel prizewinners.

His “conquests” include Nobel laureates such as Sir Tim Hunt, awarded the prize in 2001 for his part in the discovery of protein molecules that control the division of cells.

Alongside his signature, which he left after a taxi journey in 2010, Sir Hunt drew a small diagram of the cell cycle.

Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for chromosome research, also signed, as did Edmond Fischer, recognised for his discoveries concerning reversible protein phosphorylation.

There is also a note from Aaron Ciechanover, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004 for the discovery of “ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation”.

Describing his passengers, Mr Douglas said: “They’re just normal people, like ourselves.

“I think they’re usually fed up of talking science. They’d rather just talk about football or anything else that comes to their minds.”

In caring for his passengers, the line between job and lifestyle seems to blur.

“I don’t even consider myself a taxi driver any more,” he said. “I’ve got a meter in my car and I couldn’t even tell you how to turn it on.”

Those hoping to sign the book may be left disappointed, however, as the driver said it is an honour only bestowed among the few.

He joked: “You can’t just sign the book. You’ve got to be invited to sign the book. If I didn’t like you, you didn’t get to sign the book.”