This article is in memory of Professor Norman Bowery (1944–2016). Norman was a pharmacologist who spent most of his career researching the pharmacology of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). He discovered a novel metabotropic receptor subtype, GABAB, that is pharmacologically, and structurally different from the original ionotropic receptor now designated as GABAA. In his research he also studied the neurotransmitters glutamate and substance P, two molecules whose release in parts of the spinal cord is inhibited by baclofen a GABAB receptor agonist. Norman was interested in the therapeutic potential of interacting with the GABAB receptor, in particular spasticity, pain and absence epilepsy.