Sitting in Josef Kuriacose's kitchen on a sun-kissed summer evening, a collection of portraits stare down from the walls.
From behind the eyes of WB Yeats are trained on me. From ahead Seamus Heaney peers out from the confines of his frame. And to the left, a young Albert Einstein, etched in black and white, gazes thoughtfully ahead as if looking towards the future.
But not everything in the world is black and white and there are things in between still to be discovered, things which we do not yet understand.
"Science is all around us," said Dr Kuriacose, a deep thinker, a lover of science, for almost half a century a doctor and a man who has already put his name forward to take part in clinical trials to find a Covid-19 vaccine should they come to Northern Ireland.
"Switch on the light, that's science, turn on a microwave, that's science. My phone and its GPS, that's science. It's all around us in things we take for granted. But someone had to discover them all," he says.
"Einstein is my hero," he adds, pointing at the portrait on the wall. "I read constantly, science magazines. That's my hobby."
The magazines in question are spread over the kitchen island and, edging towards his 70th year, he has just come from the golf course. Club captain at Killymoon in Cookstown, you quickly realise he has a taste for the finer things in life.
But such is his belief in the field of scientific discovery that he had no hesitation enlisting as one of the first volunteers for any Covid-19 vaccine trial.
Last week the Public Health Agency called for people from all walks of life to register their interest, should a clinical trial to find a vaccine for the virus that has dominated all our lives for the past five months come here.
If enough people are willing to step forward, then a trial could be underway by autumn.
At this early stage, it is merely a register of interest, but Dr Kuriacose has no doubts. He is keen to be part of it and believes it needs to happen as soon as possible. He, probably more than anyone else, should know the risks involved.
Having worked in the medical field for 44 years, formerly a consultant, still a practising GP and still working at the Mid-Ulster Hospital in his home town of Magherafelt, though currently on leave due to Covid-19, he has looked at the merits of volunteering from all angles and his decision to volunteer was, in the end, an easy one to make.
Any trial of a potential vaccine is about building a better future
"This Covid-19 is nasty in some ways," he explains. "It spreads rapidly. But I believe in vaccines. Throughout history we have tackled measles, polio, smallpox, rubella - all through finding a vaccine. Vaccines have doubled life expectancy in the last 250 years and that is remarkable.
"But this one is a global problem. It's affecting everything about our lives.
"While I understand the reasons for the lockdown we have all been living with, do we really want to go through that again, and again with our lives put on hold? Without a vaccine this virus isn't going to go away. It will come back.
"We've seen the problems the virus has caused. The deaths, the economic impact, the impact on our children and their education.
"Any trial of a potential vaccine is about building a better future."
The desire to help people has been ingrained in Dr Kuriacose from a very young age, growing up in India before finding a new home in Northern Ireland.
"Medicine has been my life and there's no better thing than being able to help people. I've been fortunate to have helped so many over the years," he continues.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I've had my life and that's it, far from it!"
Born in Kerala, historically the centre of the spice trade with the Pharaohs, and growing up in Madras in his native India, Dr Kuriacos seemed destined for a life away from home from a young age. Despite losing his mother as a young child, he excelled at school.
"Mathematics, sciences, even sport, I couldn't get enough," he said. "I found I was naturally good at some things and I've always been thankful for that luck," he says.
After university in Madras, taking interest in molecular biology and advance mathematics, Dr Kuriacose was on his way to America, with the offer of a job, ironically, at the current US home of coronavirus research in Johns Hopkins University.
"I stopped off in Ireland and never made it any further," he recalls. "I met Mary, got married and never left Magherafelt."
That was in 1976. Though Mary died of cancer 20 years ago, and their two sons are grown up, Dr Kuriacose has not faded towards the twilight of his life.
Re-married, to another medical professional, Sinead Fitzpatrick, these days he spends his life split between his adopted home town of Magherafelt and Tasmania, where his wife lives and works all year round.
"I have the best of both worlds, a wonderful life of eternal summer!" he jokes.
"I don't want people thinking this is me being willing to take a risk, give up my life to save others. Nothing like that at all. But we have to make the future happen. What we do today will influence the lives our future generations will get to live.
"As for me, I don't want to be told I have to spend the rest of my life just sitting at home.
"Sinead is a medical professional. She trusts me."
Do we want Covid-19 to rob us of those options again and again? I certainly don't
The issue of any clinical trial opens up a huge ethical debate - around the morals of putting a few at risk for the greater good of society.
"I know there is a risk, but isn't there a risk in everything we do?" he responds.
"There's a risk getting into a car and driving to work. There's a risk getting into an airplane.
"Look at the mathematics, listen to the experts and you'll see there is a lot less risk from taking part in a clinical trial surrounded by the most intelligent, brilliant scientists we have. Do we want Covid-19 to rob us of those options again and again? I certainly don't.
"I want our children to enjoy life wherever they find themselves in the world. I want them to have the opportunity to live a life like mine. I don't want to see them robbed of the chance of an education. I don't want see shops being forced to close.
"I've looked at the science, looked at the maths and yes, this is a very difficult time we're living in with this virus, but do we just shut down the world and do nothing or do we try to prevent further suffering?"
Can we really sit back, lockdown and stop people getting the cancer treatment they need like we have been doing?
His home, for half the year at least, on the outskirts of Magherafelt, looks out over fields of green. It is a world away from the India he left behind 44 years ago.
"I speak to my sister back in India," he adds.
"In India the mortality from Covid-19 is low, but the country is still suffering. There are food shortages, people are struggling and that's because economies across the world have been shutting down, the movement of people around the world has slowed, supplies are not getting through.
"When it comes to spreading the virus in the western world, we might be our own worst enemies, but we have to start understanding why this affects some people worse than others, and why some people who contract it are not affected at all.
"I do take precautions. I'm in an at-risk category, so I'm not currently working. But my patio doors are open, my front door is open. The virus is airborne and the breeze coming through means catching this virus is much less likely from visitors.
"I'm all for medical advancement. We need the economy working to bring money, we need that money to keep the country running through taxes, keep the health service going. We need that health service to combat so many other illnesses and diseases.
"Can we really sit back, lockdown and stop people getting the cancer treatment they need like we have been doing? We can't chose one thing exclusively over any other. The world knits together and we need to fix this so it runs smoothly.
"If you calculate the individual risk involved in taking part in a trial within the bigger picture of the global nature of this virus, then I have no fears, but I'm not going into this blindly. Far from it.
"I'm not throwing myself to the wolves here, but I am prepared to do my bit.
"Finding a vaccine that works will give people hope and I'm a big believer that a vaccine will be the thing to stop this.
"And I suppose, behind it all, there's my own thirst for medical knowledge."
And with that, Dr Kuriacose is off to pick up some poached pears made for him by a neighbour. He will be up early the next morning to tee up on the golf course again.
And some day soon, he might take part in trial to give everyone else the chance to do the same in years to come.
The coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, but in the midst of it all there is the good news that more than 2,400 people in Northern Ireland have volunteered to take part in Covid-19 vaccine trials in order to overcome this deadly disease.