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.
From the distinguished neurologist who is also one of the most remarkable storytellers of our time — an account of his youth, as unexpected and fascinating as his celebrated case histories. What first aroused Sacks’ boundless curiosity? In this wonderful memoir, he evokes, with warmth and wit, his childhood in wartime England. There was the large, scientifically minded family in which his very early fascination with meals was nurtured – particularly by “Uncle Tungsten.” There were his four years at the boarding school where he was sent at the outbreak of World War II to escape the bombings, and where, though he suffered extreme deprivation and cruelty, one can see the first gleam of his interest in the intellectual pursuits that would begin to shape him. And there was his return to London, an emotionally bereft 10-year-old who found solace in the secret garden of his passion for learning – about the nature of metals, gases and chemicals; about the hidden order of things outside himself. Uncle Tungsten radiates the magic, the delight and the wonder of the birth, in a young boy, of the unquenchable desire for knowledge. It is an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary mind. From the Hardcover edition.
‘If you did not think that gallium and iridium could move you, this superb book will change your mind’ The Times In Uncle Tungsten, Oliver Sacks evokes, with warmth and wit, his upbringing in wartime England. He tells of the large science-steeped family who fostered his early fascination with chemistry. There follow his years at boarding school where, though unhappy, he developed the intellectual curiosity that would shape his later life. And we hear of his return to London, an emotionally bereft ten-year-old who found solace in his passion for learning. Uncle Tungsten radiates all the delight and wonder of a boy’s adventures, and is an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary young mind.
"Roald Hoffmann's contributions to chemistry are well known; this Nobel laureate has published more than 500 articles and two books. As an "applied theoretical chemist," he has made significant contributions to our understanding of chemical bonding and reactivity, and taught two generations of chemists how to use molecular orbitals for real chemistry. Less well known, however, are Hoffmann's important and insightful contributions to the areas of scholarship surrounding chemistry. Over a career that spans nearly fifty years, Roald Hoffmann has thought and written copiously about the broader context of chemistry and its relationship to the arts and poetry. This book contains Hoffmann's essays and is organized around several major themes: chemical reasoning and explanation, writing and communicating in science, ethics, art and science, and chemical education. A few are unpublished lectures that are valuable additions to the volume. The editors have the full cooperation of Roald Hoffmann in this project. Most of the published work will be reprinted verbatim, but a few of the essays will be revised to eliminate redundancy. The unpublished lectures will also be edited since they were originally intended to be delivered orally at specific occasions. The editors will provide an introduction to the book, and some introductory material for each section. In introducing the material, they will highlight the intrinsic importance and interest of the ideas, as well as the places where Hoffmann's thought makes novel contributions to cognate areas"--
“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” —Oliver Sacks No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks. During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death. “It is the fate of every human being,” Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.” Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life. “Oliver Sacks was like no other clinician, or writer. He was drawn to the homes of the sick, the institutions of the most frail and disabled, the company of the unusual and the ‘abnormal.’ He wanted to see humanity in its many variants and to do so in his own, almost anachronistic way—face to face, over time, away from our burgeoning apparatus of computers and algorithms. And, through his writing, he showed us what he saw.” —Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.” It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life. With unbridled honesty and humor, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions—weight lifting and swimming—also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists—Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick—who influenced him. On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer—and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.
In Cathedrals of Science, Patrick Coffey describes how chemistry got its modern footing-how thirteen brilliant men and one woman struggled with the laws of the universe and with each other. They wanted to discover how the world worked, but they also wanted credit for making those discoveries, and their personalities often affected how that credit was assigned. Gilbert Lewis, for example, could be reclusive and resentful, and his enmity with Walther Nernst may have cost him the Nobel Prize; Irving Langmuir, gregarious and charming, "rediscovered" Lewis's theory of the chemical bond and received much of the credit for it. Langmuir's personality smoothed his path to the Nobel Prize over Lewis. Coffey deals with moral and societal issues as well. These same scientists were the first to be seen by their countries as military assets. Fritz Haber, dubbed the "father of chemical warfare," pioneered the use of poison gas in World War I-vividly described-and Glenn Seaborg and Harold Urey were leaders in World War II's Manhattan Project; Urey and Linus Pauling worked for nuclear disarmament after the war. Science was not always fair, and many were excluded. The Nazis pushed Jewish scientists like Haber from their posts in the 1930s. Anti-Semitism was also a force in American chemistry, and few women were allowed in; Pauling, for example, used his influence to cut off the funding and block the publications of his rival, Dorothy Wrinch. Cathedrals of Science paints a colorful portrait of the building of modern chemistry from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.
This book opens the audience’s eyes to the extraordinary scientific secrets hiding in everyday objects. Helping readers increase chemistry knowledge in a fun and entertaining way, the book is perfect as a supplementary textbook or gift to curious professionals and novices. • Appeals to a modern audience of science lovers by discussing multiple examples of chemistry in everyday life • Addresses compounds that affect everyone in one way or another: poisons, pharmaceuticals, foods, and illicit drugs; thereby evoking a powerful emotional response which increases interest in the topic at hand • Focuses on edgy types of stories that chemists generally tend to avoid so as not to paint chemistry in a bad light; however, these are the stories that people find interesting • Provides detailed and sophisticated stories that increase the reader’s fundamental scientific knowledge • Discusses complex topics in an engaging and accessible manner, providing the “how” and “why” that takes readers deeper into the stories
From the best-selling author of Gratitude, On the Move, and Musicophilia, a collection of essays that displays Oliver Sacks's passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience. Oliver Sacks, a scientist and a storyteller, is beloved by readers for the extraordinary neurological case histories (Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars) in which he introduced and explored many now familiar disorders--autism, Tourette's syndrome, face blindness, savant syndrome. He was also a memoirist who wrote with honesty and humor about the remarkable and strange encounters and experiences that shaped him (Uncle Tungsten, On the Move, Gratitude). Sacks, an Oxford-educated polymath, had a deep familiarity not only with literature and medicine but with botany, animal anatomy, chemistry, the history of science, philosophy, and psychology. The River of Consciousness is one of two books Sacks was working on up to his death, and it reveals his ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what makes us human.
In recent years the bestselling Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat have received great critical acclaim, but Oliver Sacks's readers may remember that he began his medical career working with migraine patients. In this, the latest edition of "Migraine," he returns to his first book and enriches it with additional case histories, new findings, and practical information on treatment. To define "migraine, " suggests Oliver Sacks, one must embrace the dizzying variety of experiences of its sufferers. For some, the affliction features of a headache of monumental proportions. For others, there is no pain at all. Some attacks are triggered by weather, some intense light. Still others consist of intense light -- hallucinatory displays of dazzling loops, stars, and geometrics. "Migraine" is Sacks's brilliant examination of a debilitating ailment and the profound implications of neurological illness. Synthesizing his patients' case histories with 2,000 years of human research into the problem, he casts the migraine as exemplar of our psychological transparency, a complex biological response to external factors. Here is a classic meditation on the nature of health and malady, on the unity of mind and body. Here, too, is Sacks's discovery of how the migraine shows us, through hallucinatory displays, the elemental activity of the cerebral cortex -- and potentially, the self-organizing patterns of Nature itself. Enormously compelling, compassionate, and profound, Migraine offers comfort for sufferers -- and insight to all.
In the spirit of A Short History of Nearly Everything comes Periodic Tales. Award-winning science writer Hugh Andersey-Williams offers readers a captivating look at the elements—and the amazing, little-known stories behind their discoveries. Periodic Tales is an energetic and wide-ranging book of innovations and innovators, of superstition and science and the myriad ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language. It will delight readers of Genome, Einstein’s Dreams, Longitude, and The Age of Wonder.
Beautifully produced. Intended for non-scientists. The focus in this melding of science and art is on the social, cultural, literary, and psychological context of chemistry. Hoffman (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981) provides essays, personal commentary, and poems; artist Torrence has prepared intriguing collages to accompany the text. Alas, no index. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
The author explores the essence of what it means to be a woman--in body and mind--as she shares her thoughts on everything from organs to orgasm and menopause
"I have been an inveterate keeper of journals since I was 14 especially at times of adventure and crisis and travel. Here, for the first time, such a journal made its way to publication, not that much changed from the raw, handwritten journal that I kept during my fascinated 9 days in Oaxaca." Dr. Oliver Sacks Oliver Sacks is best known as an explorer of the human mind, a neurologist with a gift for the complex, insightful portrayals of people and their conditions that fuel the phenomenal success of his books. But he is also a card-carrying member of the American Fern Society, and since childhood has been fascinated by these primitive plants and their ability to survive and adapt. Now the bestselling author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat brings his ceaseless curiosity and eye for the wondrous to the province of Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca Journal is Sacks's spellbinding account of his trip with a group of fellow fern enthusiasts to the beautiful, history-steeped province of Oaxaca. Bringing together Sacks's passion for natural history and the richness of human culture with his penetrating curiosity and trammeling eye for detail, Oaxaca Journal is a captivating evocation of a places, its plants, its people and its myriad wonders.
Awakenings--which inspired the major motion picture--is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world.
Presents a series of stories about men and women who, representing both medical and literary oddities, raise fundamental questions about the nature of reality
A neurologist describes his struggle to recover from a mountain climbing accident and examines the effects of a neural injury on the sense of self
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Defense. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the great modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions. “It is Dr. Sacks’s gift that he has found a way to enlarge our experience and understanding of what the human is.” —The Wall Street Journal Dubbed “the poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times, Oliver Sacks is a practicing neurologist and a mesmerizing storyteller. His empathetic accounts of his patients’s lives—and wrily observed narratives of his own—convey both the extreme borderlands of human experience and the miracles of ordinary seeing, speaking, hearing, thinking, and feeling. Vintage Sacks includes the introduction and case study “Rose R.” from Awakenings (the book that inspired the Oscar-nominated movie), as well as “A Deaf World” from Seeing Voices; “The Visions of Hildegard” from Migraine; excerpts from “Island Hopping” and “Pingelap” from The Island of the Colorblind; “A Surgeon’s Life” from An Anthropologist on Mars; and two chapters from Sacks’s acclaimed memoir Uncle Tungsten. From the Trade Paperback edition.
From cooking to medicine, from engineering to art, chemistry—the science of molecules—is everywhere. A celebration of the molecules of chemistry, Every Molecule Tells a Story celebrates the molecules responsible for the experiences of everyday life: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the chemicals that fuel our living; the steroids that give us sex; the colours of the seasons; the drugs that heal us; and the scented molecules that enrich our diet and our encounters with each other. You can’t see them, but you know that they are there. Unveiling the structures of poisonous "natural" substances and beneficial man-made molecules, this book brushes away any preconceived notions about chemistry to demonstrate why and how molecules matter.

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