Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

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Vintage Books, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 337 pages
15 Reviews
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 of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "Awakenings "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 lightbulbs. 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.

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Review: Uncle Tungsten

User Review  - Oliver Ho - Goodreads

Heartfelt memoir that traces the development of modern science alongside the author's childhood and youth. It's fascinating, especially in light of his other work, but some of the rapturous chapters ... Read full review

Review: Uncle Tungsten

User Review  - Sean Kottke - Goodreads

Quite a good yarn about the birth of a scientific mind, the first chapter is an amazing account of how the author's interest in science - specifically chemistry - was first piqued and nurtured by his ... Read full review

Contents

n37
19
An Ideal Metal
32
Light for the Masses
46
Copyright

13 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

Oliver Sacks is the author of Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and lives in New York City, where he is a practicing neurologist.

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