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Volframin hehku : muistoja kemiallisesta lapsuudestani (2001)

– tekijä: Oliver Sacks

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,971476,414 (4.01)62
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 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 light bulbs. 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.… (lisätietoja)
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» Katso myös 62 mainintaa

englanti (42)  saksa (2)  hollanti (1)  katalaani (1)  portugali (1)  Kaikki kielet (47)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 47) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Well written. My surprise was this was actually mostly a book concerning the history of chemistry, and not so much a biography of Oliver Wolf Sacks. It only covers his childhood briefly. I guess I should have looked at the index instead of the blurb to be forewarned. I was pleased to learn that Sacks was influenced by H G Wells's stories, and surprised Sacks' Monopoly board had a purple-coloured Old Kent Road. I enjoyed picturing his Radium clock, and Spinthariscope "toy". Some of the chemicals his played with in his home lab were quite something! ( )
  AChild | Aug 23, 2021 |
This is an unusual sort of memoir. Sacks' family was extensive and largely of a technical turn of mind. Both parents were doctors, his aunts and uncles included a lightbulb manufacturer and a biologist. And so he becomes interested in chemistry almost as a result of being surrounded by it. Uncle Dave, the lightbulb manufacturer, had samples of all sorts of filament materials and so he introduces the young Oliver to metals, their origins, their ores and their properties. From here is a brief step to general chemistry. His parents let him set up a chemistry lab in a spare room on the back of the house and from this report its a wonder that any of them made it out alive!
There is quite a lot of the history of science in here, the move from alchemy to chemistry, the development of the periodic table, the discoveries of different elements and the structure of the atom. There is a lot less about Sacks' childhood. It is almost mentioned in passing along side the shifting interest in all things chemical. He describes his school being evacuated during the first art of the war and the dreadful experience he had there, but it barely makes more than a paragraph. His brother's response to the school and the impact on him mental health is hardly more than a couple of lines. Which makes for an odd read, if I'm honest. It's not a memoir of childhood, more a memoir of an interest in chemistry. As a scientist myself, I knew (or once knew) most of the technical detail in here. In which case, for me, it was more a refresher and reminder of what makes science so enthralling. I'm not sure what the non-technical reader would make of it. ( )
  Helenliz | Jul 21, 2021 |
Neste livro, Oliver Sacks descreve os seus primeiros contactos com a ciência sob a orientação do seu tio «químico», o Tio Tungsténio, numa época em que a realidade virtual não se tinha ainda apoderado do conhecimento sobre o mundo. A partir de experiências com a electricidade, com metais e com a fotografia, Oliver Sacks inicia uma viagem que nos leva às suas paixões da infância e à origem de uma mente particularmente fértil e criativa.
  LuisFragaSilva | Nov 8, 2020 |
I enjoyed listening to Sacks's story throughout the memoir including his reminiscing of bits of chemical/physics history. His last chapter discussing his transition away from Chemistry into Medicine was the most striking. I found it disconcerting that formal study of a subject would make someone with such a love for a discipline to lose interest. Although, I took heart in knowing that more than that went into the equation. In particular, his parent's desire for him to study medicine and the quantum chemistry portion of chemistry being so troubling for him. ( )
  aevaughn | Aug 12, 2020 |
The piano teacher "instilled in us an intense feeling for Bach especially, and all the hidden structure of a fugue. When I was five, I am told, and asked what my favorite things in the world were, I answered, 'smoked salmon and Bach.' (Now sixty years later, my answer would be the same.)" (Page 182) Likewise, at the end of the book I learned that his love of chemistry, though dormant for 50 years, was still there, and flared up again in his later life.

This book said nicely something that I had been feeling - children no longer get to experiment and play with chemicals. Now they are considered toxic or dangerous, and are not as available as they used to be. Although my experimentation was not as extensive as his, I used to go to the drug store and buy whatever chemicals I wanted. "Linus Pauling [said] Just think of the differences today. A young person gets interested in chemistry and is given a chemical set. But id doesn't contain potassium cyanide. It doesn't even contain copper sulfate or anything else interesting because all the interesting chemicals are considered dangerous substances. Therefore these budding young chemists don't have a chance to do anything engrossing with their chemistry sets." (Page 86 footnote)

The ending of the book contains what I had come to suspect - the book only covers up to age 15. And it felt like half the book teaches us about chemistry. It is so nicely interwoven with his life that I didn't mind the long digressions into the history of chemical discovery. In fact, I found the history of Madam Curie to be especially interesting.
( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 47) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Romantic chemistry sounds like a contradiction in terms, but the two words pair naturally in this book.
lisäsi Katya0133 | muokkaaEconomist
 
When Mr. Sacks departs from the narrative of his childhood to serve up lengthy digressions on the finer points of rare earth metals or electromagnetic reactions, his writing can lapse into textbook lecturing, but even these dense, scientific passages are enlivened by his boyish wonder at the amazing logic and strangeness of the world.
lisäsi Katya0133 | muokkaaNew York Times, Michiko Kakutani
 
Thus this is both the story of a particular English boy's life just before, during, and after World War II and a maximally engaging, personalized overview of chemistry, from Robert Boyle to Madame Curie.
lisäsi Katya0133 | muokkaaBooklist, Ray Olson
 

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Many of my childhood memories are of metals: these seemed to exert a power on me from the start.
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He loved doing housecalls more than anything else, for they were social and sociable as well as medical, would allow him to enter a family and home, get to know everybody and their circumstances, see the whole complexion and context of a condition. Medicine, for him, was never just diagnosing a disease, but had to be seen and understood in the context of patients' lives, the particularities of their personalities, their feelings, their reactions.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (4)

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 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 light bulbs. 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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