Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

3.96 avg rating
( 4,289 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375704048: Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Oliver Sacks's luminous memoir charts the growth of a mind. Born in 1933 into a family of formidably intelligent London Jews, he discovered the wonders of the physical sciences early from his parents and their flock of brilliant siblings, most notably "Uncle Tungsten" (real name, Dave), who "manufactured lightbulbs with filaments of fine tungsten wire." Metals were the substances that first attracted young Oliver, and his descriptions of their colors, textures, and properties are as sensuous and romantic as an art lover's rhapsodies over an Old Master. Seamlessly interwoven with his personal recollections is a masterful survey of scientific history, with emphasis on the great chemists like Robert Boyle, Antoine Lavoisier, and Humphry Davy (Sacks's personal hero). Yet this is not a dry intellectual autobiography; his parents in particular, both doctors, are vividly sketched. His sociable father loved house calls and "was drawn to medicine because its practice was central in human society," while his shy mother "had an intense feeling for structure ... for her [medicine] was part of natural history and biology." For young Oliver, unhappy at the brutal boarding school he was sent to during the war, and afraid that he would become mentally ill like his older brother, chemistry was a refuge in an uncertain world. He would outgrow his passion for metals and become a neurologist, but as readers of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat know, he would never leave behind his conviction that science is a profoundly human endeavor. --Wendy Smith

From the Back Cover:

“A rare gem…. Fresh, joyous, wistful, generous, and tough-minded.”– The New York Times Book Review

“This book underlies everything else Dr. Sacks has written, and is worthy to stand with the great scientific memoirs, for it’s passion, its insight, its sense of history and its felicity.” –Paul Theroux

“Fired by Sacks’s enthusiasm–obviously genuine, impossible to feign–bursting forth in all directions. . . .The book recounts the growth of a formidable young mind opening up to the order and beauty of the material world.” – Newsday

“Sack’s study of a mind [is] as tough as tungsten, as fluid as mercury . . . as precious as gold.” – The Seattle Times

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Sacks, Oliver
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2002. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.31
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

SACKS, OLIVER
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0375704043

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.27
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Sacks, Oliver
Published by Vintage Books USA 9/17/2002 (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Books USA 9/17/2002, 2002. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Sacks, Oliver
Published by Vintage (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Save With Sam
(North Miami, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # 0375704043

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Oliver Sacks
Published by Random House USA Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.58
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Sacks, Oliver
Published by Vintage (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 0375704043

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Oliver Sacks
Published by Random House USA Inc, United States (2002)
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Sacks, Oliver
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Lakeside Books
(Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375704043 BRAND NEW, GIFT QUALITY! NOT OVERSTOCKS OR MARKED UP REMAINDERS! DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER!|0.75. Bookseller Inventory # OTF-S-9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Sacks, Oliver
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375704043 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2132207855

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.77
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Oliver W. Sacks
ISBN 10: 0375704043 ISBN 13: 9780375704048
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Grand Eagle Retail
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 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 .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 337 pages. 0.340. Bookseller Inventory # 9780375704048

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 17.09
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book