Uncle Tungsten

Author: Oliver Sacks

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0804172153

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 352

View: 4829


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.

In Two Minds

Author: Kate Bassett

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1849437386

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 488

View: 7516


In Two Minds is the first comprehensive biography of Jonathan Miller – the story of one of post-war Britain's most intriguing polymaths. Descended from immigrants who fled Tsarist anti-Semitism to become shopkeepers in Ireland and London's East End, Miller was born into an intellectual milieu, between Bloomsbury and Harley Street – the son of a novelist and a leading child psychiatrist. Miller trained as adoctor but then forged a career as a stellar comedian and as a world-renowned theatre and opera director. He is a controversial humorist, public intellectual and TV personality. As a star in the groundbreaking satirical revue Beyond the Fringe, he shot to fame alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. His expertise and interests encompass many areas, from medicine (he wrote and presented the hugely acclaimed BBC documentary series The Body in Question) to the history of art, Mozart, atheism and the nature of laughter. Jonathan Miller is one of the most multi-talented Britons of his generation, celebrated for his dazzling intelligence and anti-establishmentarian wit. Drawing on in-depth interviews, this is an entertaining and illuminating portrait of a fascinatingly complex man.

Mind, Life and Universe

Author: Lynn Margulis,Eduardo Punset

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603580379

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 548


Nearly forty of the world's most esteemed scientists discuss the big questions that drive their illustrious careers. Co-editor Eduardo Punset—one of Spain's most loved personages for his popularization of the sciences—interviews an impressive collection of characters drawing out the seldom seen personalities of the world's most important men and woman of science. In Mind, Life and Universe they describe in their own words the most important and fascinating aspects of their research. Frank and often irreverent, these interviews will keep even the most casual reader of science books rapt for hours. Can brain science explain feelings of happiness and despair? Is it true that chimpanzees are just like us when it comes to sexual innuendo? Is there any hard evidence that life exists anywhere other than on the Earth? Through Punset's skillful questioning, readers will meet one scientist who is passionate about the genetic control of everything and another who spends her every waking hour making sure African ecosystems stay intact. The men and women assembled here by Lynn Margulis and Eduardo Punset will provide a source of endless interest. In captivating conversations with such science luminaries as Jane Goodall, James E. Lovelock, Oliver Sachs, and E. O. Wilson, Punset reveals a hidden world of intellectual interests, verve, and humor. Science enthusiasts and general readers alike will devour Mind, Life and Universe, breathless and enchanted by its truths.

Chip Kidd

Author: Véronique Vienne

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing

ISBN: 9781856693301

Category: Book jackets

Page: 112

View: 1349


Chip Kidd is best known for his book jacket designs, which have been credited with spawning a revolution in the art of the book cover in the US. Master of the graphic non-sequitur, Kidd has designed covers for books by authors such as John Updike, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Peter Carey and William Boyd that engage the reader's intelligence as well as imagination. This illustrated volume presents an appraisal of his oeuvre.

Literature and Chemistry

Author: Margareth Hagen,Margery Vibe Skagen

Publisher: Aarhus Universitetsforlag

ISBN: 8771246274

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 340

View: 1899


Literature and Chemistry: Elective Affinities investigates literary and chemical encounters, from medieval alchemy to contemporary science fiction, in works of the likes of Dante, Goethe, Baudelaire and Dag Solstad as well as in literary writing of scientists such as Humphry Davy, Ludwig Boltzmann and Oliver Sachs. Sixteen authors break new ground in demonstrating chemistry's particular status as one of the sciences in which humanities should interest itself, the overlaps and reciprocities of the two fields, and - perhaps most importantly - chemistry's role in the production of narrative, metaphor, and literary form. The anthology makes the silent presence of chemistry perceptible, uncovering its historical and present appeal to material sensitivity, imagination, and creativity, as well as its call for philosophical and ethical concern, and for wonder.

On the Move

Author: Oliver Sacks

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 1447265459

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 1119


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 and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks's earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels – sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents. With unbridled honesty and humour, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions –bodybuilding, weightlifting, 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.

The Nostalgia Factory

Author: Douwe Draaisma

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300198523

Category: Psychology

Page: 173

View: 5793


“An entertaining discussion” of the role memory plays in our lives as we age, including an interview with Oliver Sacks (Times Higher Education Supplement). When we can’t call to mind the name of someone we’ve known for years, or walk into a room and forget what we came for, we start worrying. Are these lapses just “senior moments,” or something serious like dementia? In this book, a renowned specialist explores the topic of memory in later life—not only the problems but the surprisingly unexpected pleasures it can offer, such as the “reminiscence effect.” Avoiding jargon, Douwe Draaisma explains neurological phenomena and also includes a long interview with Oliver Sacks, who speaks of his own memory changes as he entered his sixties. Draaisma moves smoothly from anecdote to research and back, weaving stories and science into a compelling description of the terrain of memory and forgetfulness, dismantling myths and helping us to value the abilities of the aging mind. “For readers, the most welcome aspect of this book may be his heartening examples of the wisdom that comes with old age.”—The Washington Post “He engages with topics of considerable social and psychological importance…his use of varied sources is refreshing.”—Times Higher Education Supplement

Vintage Sacks

Author: Oliver Sacks

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307430057

Category: Psychology

Page: 208

View: 9582


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.

The Unexpected Professor

Author: John Carey

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 057131094X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 384

View: 9389


Best known for his provocative take on cultural issues in The Intellectuals and the Masses and What Good Are the Arts?, John Carey describes in this warm and funny memoir the events that formed him - an escape from the London blitz to an idyllic rural village, army service in Egypt, an open scholarship to Oxford and an academic career that saw him elected, age 40, to Oxford's oldest English Literature professorship. He frankly portrays the snobberies and rituals of 1950s Oxford, but also his inspiring meetings with writers and poets - Auden, Graves, Larkin, Heaney - and his forty-year stint as a lead book-reviewer for the Sunday Times. This is a book about the joys of reading - in effect, an informal introduction to the great works of English literature. But it is also about war and family, and how an unexpected background can give you the insight and the courage to say the unexpected thing.