Alan’s parents, Arthur and Ruby Holden, encouraged Alan in his education and were pleased when he opted to go to university. Unfortunately, Alan’s father died at the young age of 41. Alan attended Milton Road Elementary School and then Cambridge and County High School for Boys, where he won a Scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. At university he studied chemistry, physics, mathematics and mineralogy. Because of World War Two, the normal course was reduced from three to two years and Alan soon graduated with BA Honours in 1943.