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. Since we settled in the University of California, San Francisco, and began to study neural development as well as potassium channels, we have settled into the pattern of each attending meetings and presenting our studies on one of these two areas so as to avoid both being away from home and our children at the same time. In following this pattern, I will be presenting the studies of potassium channels as part of our long-term collaboration. In this talk I will first briefly take you through the path that led us to the molecular studies of potassium channels and then discuss the diversity and modulation of these potassium channels at the molecular and physiological level.