I aways wanted to do darkroom stuff. I did a lot of optics and chemistry projects in middle school (my physchist/machinist grandfather helped me build a Michelson Interferometer, an accurate absorption spectrometer, and an experiment probing Faraday's law via electrochemical plating of metals)

Anyway, I found my optics and chemistry interests combined in photography, but I really got kicked off when I was given my Grandfather's Nikon F and Pacemaker Speed Graphic. When I got to high-school they had a darkroom, and I taught myself that first year.