This lecture is dedicated to Max Delbrück and Seymour Benzer. Max Delbrück was our graduate advisor. He introduced us to a variety of biophysical problems, and taught us ways of thinking about these problems by example. Potassium channels was one of the topics included in his journal club in the early seventies; Max also carefully considered the feasibility of purifying potassium channels then. It was in Seymour Benzer's laboratory that we began to look for Drosophila mutants that affect synaptic transmission at the larval neuromuscular junction. Shaker was the first behavioural mutant we tested that gave a robust phenotype, a phenotype that could be mimicked by treating wild-type preparations with a potassium channel blocker. This mutant fly has led us to our subsequent molecular studies of potassium channels.