Tom Paterson was born on the 29th of September 1909 in Buckhaven, Fife, the youngest son of the union of a fisherman’s daughter and a collier. Performing extremely well in high school in Buckhaven, he won a scholarship to enter Edinburgh University in 1926, in spite of the offer of a ‘good job in a bank’ arranged by the headmaster of the school. While at Edinburgh he gained an Honours BSc in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, a similar degree in Geology and Zoology, and was the Vans Dunlop Scholar, Shaw-Macfie Lang Fellow, and Falconer memorial Fellow. He entered the medical faculty and gained his 2nd MB in Anatomy, Physiology and Histology. In 1933 he earned the Anthony Wilkins Studentship in Anthropology and 1851 Exhibition Research Fellowship to go to Trinity College, Cambridge, eventually being elected to a Fellowship in that college. His studies earned him an MA, and later, a PhD, and involved many expeditions – to East Africa, India, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. A major inlet on the coast of northeast Baffin Island bears his name. By the time the 1930s drew to an end he had been appointed the Curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge, a position which gave him the status of full Professor. In 1937 he was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.