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Uncle Tungsten: memories of a chemical boyhood

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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 When he returned to London in 1943 at the age of ten, he was a changed, withdrawn boy, one who desperately needed order to make sense of his life.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.
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Level 10.7, 25 Points
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 080624dd-803d-39cd-2065-623797fd5586
Grouping Title uncle tungsten memories of a chemical boyhood
Grouping Author sacks oliver
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-08-21 22:53:23PM
Last Indexed 2018-08-21 01:04:26AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_interest_level UG
accelerated_reader_point_value 25
accelerated_reader_reading_level 10.7
author Oliver Sacks
author_display Sacks, Oliver
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Biography
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Biography
display_description Neurologist and storyteller Oliver Sacks recalls his childhood fascination for numbers, metals, and natural patterns, and tells how he was encouraged by his Uncle Dave, a lightbulb manufacturer known as "Uncle Tungsten," to investigate the mysteries of chemistry.
format_catalog Book, eBook
format_category_catalog Books, eBook
id 080624dd-803d-39cd-2065-623797fd5586
isbn 9780375404481, 9780375704048, 9780676972610, 9780804172158
item_details ils:CARL0000171886|35192040843843|Main Library - Adult Biography|B S1218s|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf||MN||, ils:CARL0000607326|FF00091791|Cane Ridge High - Teen Biography|B SAC SAC|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf||61182||, overdrive:3191822d-7e6b-4af5-a41a-f27557d45b85|-1|Online OverDrive Collection|Online OverDrive|eBook|eBook|1|false|true|OverDrive|||Adobe EPUB eBook,Kindle Book,OverDrive Read|Available Online||||
itype_catalog , Book
last_indexed 2018-08-21T06:04:26.292Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog B S1218s
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780375704048
publishDate 2001, 2002, 2013
record_details ils:CARL0000171886|Book|Books||English|A.A. Knopf Canada,|2001.|, ils:CARL0000607326|Book|Books|1st Vintage Books ed.|English|Vintage Books,|2002, c2001.|viii, 337 p. : ill. ; 22 cm., overdrive:3191822d-7e6b-4af5-a41a-f27557d45b85|eBook|eBook||English|Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|2013|
recordtype grouped_work
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
overdrive:3191822d-7e6b-4af5-a41a-f27557d45b85 -1 Available Online Available Online false true true false false false
ils:CARL0000171886 35192040843843 On Shelf On Shelf false true true false false true
subject_facet Neurologists -- England -- Biography, Sacks, Oliver, -- 1933- -- Childhood and youth, Sacks, Oliver, -- 1933- -- Knowledge -- Chemistry, Sacks, Oliver, -- 1933-2015
title_display Uncle Tungsten : memories of a chemical boyhood
title_full Uncle Tungsten : memories of a chemical boyhood / Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
title_short Uncle Tungsten :
title_sub memories of a chemical boyhood
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography, Chemistry, Childhood and youth, Knowledge, Medical, Neurologists, Nonfiction, Sacks, Oliver, Science