The Youngest Science

The Youngest Science : Notes of a Medicine Watcher

4.12 (357 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the 1920s when he watched his father, a general practitioner who made housecalls and wrote his prescriptions in Latin, to his days in medical school and beyond, Lewis Thomas saw medicine evolve from an art into a sophisticated science. "The Youngest Science" is Dr. Thomas's account of his life in the medical profession and an inquiry into what medicine is all about--the youngest science, but one rich in possibility and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 134.62 x 203.2 x 22.86mm | 294.83g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192860631
  • 9780192860637

Review Text

Writing of his life and his scientific challenges, the author of The Lives of a Cell and The Medusa and the Snail displays the same unpretentious but erudite way with words that have made the essays justly famous. Thomas grew up in N.Y.'s Flushing when there were clapboard houses and trees; Father was a horse-and-buggy doctor who made house calls; Mother was a nurse; and the front parlor was the waiting room. He went on to Harvard Medical School and internship in Boston, residency at Columbia (in neurology), a tour at Rockefeller Institute, military service on Guam, and then postwar academic laurels - departmental chairmanships at Minnesota and NYU, a deanship at Yale. Thomas is now head of Sloan-Kettering. But all this is incidental to telling what student life was like in the pre-antibiotic days; what personal fascinations there are in infectious diseases, in strange microorganisms (neither bacteria nor virus) called mycoplasmas. Thomas' administrative skills were quickly recognized, and he describes jumping at the chance to build up a pathology department at NYU; he also remarks that he would prefer, to this day, being taken to Bellevue over any other place should he fall ill on the streets of New York. From his stints on the N.Y.C. Board of Health and on Johnson's science advisory board, there are political asides as well. The chronology moves to the present with word of personal illness and surgery, and the observation that every doctor should have the experience of being a patient. Wife Beryl, clearly an intellectual soul-mate, is mentioned sparingly and lovingly. As commentary on being a doctor, on doing and teaching science, an adornment to the Sloan Foundation series (which began with Freeman Dyson's Disturbing the Universe and Peter Medawar's Advice to a Young Scientist); and, in itself, a sheer pleasure to read. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

357 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 38% (137)
4 40% (144)
3 17% (60)
2 4% (14)
1 1% (2)
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