Uncle Tungsten

Uncle Tungsten

Memories of A Chemical Boyhood

eBook - 2002
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Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and bestselling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals-also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the author chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded. In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks' extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother, who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection, and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his "Uncle Tungsten," whose factory produces tungsten-filament light bulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes, in his own home laboratory. Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2002, ©2001.
Edition: 1st Vintage books ed.
ISBN: 9780804172158
Branch Call Number: eBook OverDrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 337 pages) : illustrations
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Apr 26, 2019

Remarkable recollections by the brilliant mind of Oliver Sacks. That being said, I am a chemist, but enjoyed the personal stuff more than the endless detail about the salts and metals that he loved. My head started spinning at about Page 120. I never had chemistry sets as a kid, but came to love chemistry during college when I saw how it represented everyday life.

May 17, 2017

It's amazing to learn about how smart Dr. Sacks was since he was a little boy and his passion to chemistry. It's even more amazing that he had such open-minded and encouraging parents.

Mar 08, 2016

What a wonderful book! His love for the sciences really shines through and that enthusiasm extended to me! This was the very first book written by Oliver Sacks that I read. He's a wonderful writer and I highly recommend reading this book.

Apr 02, 2012

His autobiography seemed to be written more for himself than for other readers.


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Apr 03, 2019

katboxjanitor thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Apr 03, 2019

This memoir is a demonstration of a deep, abiding love for metals and science from within a family deeply involved in both medical and industrial fields. Not fast-paced, I had to check this puppy out 3, yes THREE times to finish it. I let the first try expire, but Dr. Sacks' story and perspective through some impressive decades of discovery and development of metallurgic and elemental sciences was quite intriguing and would not leave me alone.

I have read \ listened to a couple of Stephen Hawking's writings and the elements and periodic table was a concept I had not fully appreciated until now.

Making Science, Chemistry, Metallurgy and even Medicine relatable is quite a skill. And the fact he survived his childhood physically, emotionally, intellectually or professionally makes us all fortunate.


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