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Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Alfred a Knopf Inc
Publication date October 1, 2001
Pages 337
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780375404481
ISBN-10 0375404481
Dimensions 1.25 by 6 by 9 in.
Weight 1.25 lbs.
Availability§ Publisher Out of Stock Indefinitely
Original list price $25.00
§As reported by publisher
Summaries and Reviews
Summary
The scientific wonder of youth is skillfully evoked in this intriguing memoir by the distinguished neurologist and author of Awakenings in which he describes his fascination with metals, gases, and chemicals, especially 'Uncle Tungsten,' and with unravelling the complex mysteries of the world around. 75,000 first printing. (view table of contents)
Amazon.com description: Product Description: From his earliest days, Oliver Sacks, the distinguished neurologist who is also one of the most remarkable storytellers of our time, was irresistibly drawn to understanding the natural world. Born into a large family of doctors, metallurgists, chemists, physicists, and teachers, his curiosity was encouraged and abetted by aunts, uncles, parents, and older brothers. But soon after his sixth birthday, the Second World War broke out and he was evacuated from London, as were hundreds of thousands of children, to escape the bombing. Exiled to a school that rivaled Dickens's grimmest, fed on a steady diet of turnips and beetroots, tormented by a sadistic headmaster, and allowed home only once in four years, he felt desolate and abandoned.

When he returned to London in 1943 at the age of ten, he was a changed, withdrawn boy, one who desperately needed order to make sense of his life. He was sustained by his secret passions: for numbers, for metals, and for finding patterns in the world around him. Under the tutelage of his "chemical" uncle, Uncle Tungsten, Sacks began to experiment with "the stinks and bangs" that almost define a first entry into chemistry: tossing sodium off a bridge to see it take fire in the water below; producing billowing clouds of noxious-smelling chemicals in his home lab. As his interests spread to investigations of batteries and bulbs, vacuum tubes and photography, he discovered his first great scientific heroes, men and women whose genius lay in understanding the hidden order of things and disclosing the forces that sustain and support the tangible world. There was Humphry Davy, the boyish chemist who delighted in sending flaming globules of metal shooting across his lab; Marie Curie, whose heroic efforts in isolating radium would ultimately lead to the unlocking of the secrets of the atom; and Dmitri Mendeleev, inventor of the periodic table, whose pursuit of the classification of elements unfolds like a detective story.

Uncle Tungsten vividly evokes a time when virtual reality had not yet displaced a hands-on knowledge of the world. It draws us into a journey of discovery that reveals, through the enchantment and wonder of a childhood passion, the birth of an extraordinary and original mind.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780375404481 Book cover for 9780786241484
 
Large print edition from Thorndike Pr (May 1, 2002)
9780786241484 | details & prices | 535 pages | 5.75 × 8.75 × 0.75 in. | 1.45 lbs | List price $30.95
About: A memoir of the scientific wonder of youth by the distinguished neurologist and author describes his fascination with metals, gasses, and chemicals, expecially 'Uncle Tungsten,' and with unravelling the complex mysteries of the world around him.
The price comparison is for this edition
from Alfred a Knopf Inc (October 1, 2001)
9780375404481 | details & prices | 337 pages | 6.00 × 9.00 × 1.25 in. | 1.25 lbs | List price $25.00
About: 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.
Paperback
Book cover for 9780375704048
 
Reprint edition from Vintage Books (October 1, 2002)
9780375704048 | details & prices | 337 pages | 5.25 × 8.25 × 0.75 in. | 0.70 lbs | List price $15.95
About: A memoir of the scientific wonder of youth by the distinguished neurologist and author describes his fascination with metals, gasses, and chemicals, and with unravelling the complex mysteries of the world around him.
Reinforced
Book cover for 9780606286688
 
With Oliver W. Sacks | from Demco Media (July 1, 2003)
9780606286688 | details & prices | 5.25 × 8.00 × 1.00 in. | 0.85 lbs | List price $23.50
About: A memoir of the scientific wonder of youth by the distinguished neurologist and author describes his fascination with metals, gasses, and chemicals, and with unravelling the complex mysteries of the world around him.
Prebinding
Book cover for 9780613708715 Book cover for 9781435297364
 
With Oliver W. Sacks | Reprint edition from Paw Prints (June 5, 2008)
9781435297364 | details & prices | 337 pages | 5.25 × 8.25 × 1.00 in. | 0.86 lbs | List price $23.95
With Oliver W. Sacks | from Turtleback Books (September 1, 2002)
9780613708715 | details & prices | 5.50 × 8.25 × 1.00 in. | 0.40 lbs | List price $26.90
About: A memoir of the scientific wonder of youth by the distinguished neurologist and author describes his fascination with metals, gasses, and chemicals, and with unravelling the complex mysteries of the world around him.

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