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Youngest Science, The

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  372 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A doctor's fascinating view of what medicine was, and what it has become. Thomas first learned about medicine by watching his father practice in an era when doctors comforted rather than healed. Looking back upon his experiences as a medical student, young doctor, and senior researcher, Thomas notes that medicine is now rich in possibility and promise.
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by Bantam (first published 1983)
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(showing 1-30)
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Katie Bananas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
D. Ryan
I re-read this after my first year of medical school. I first read it in high school but didn't understand just how unique and valuable this book really is.
Linus Williams
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of how medicine has changed since the early 20th century and what it has become. Dr. Thomas lived, worked, and researched through some of the most interesting medical times, and he writes clearly and vividly about them. I am a better doctor-to-be, researcher, and indeed person for having read this book. A must-read.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The evolution of medicine from art to science

Although he refers to himself as a watcher, Lewis Thomas was very much a participant in the major event where medicine went from being personal and in some ways useless to a science where cures were routine. He starts the book with a description of the role of a physician before the Second World War. His father was a physician who had an office in their home, although most of his work was making house calls and hospital rounds. In those days, before s
Un médico, por lo visto bastante renombrado, narra en esta obra su manera de ver la medicina, y cómo ha cambiado su práctica a lo largo de su carrera profesional (el estilo se parece al de Interacciones de Sheldon Glashow). Los capítulos son independientes y están ordenados más o menos cronológicamente. El estilo no es de los que me atraen. Es, valga la cacofonía, una prosa sosa. No me ha apasionado. Además no es nada actual, con lo que la mayoría de los "problemas abiertos" que plantea están ba ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All three Thomas books are apologies for meaning to be found in creation. Sadly, the author falls short of tying that back to God. Nevertheless, he comes so close, and his explanation is beautiful.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lewis Thomas gives a personal history of his life in medicine. His father was a turn-of-the-century doctor, and his own career started in the thirties so he can cover most of the amazing changes in 20th century medicine.

The early going was fascinating as he described the very different world of medicine at the start of the century, but as the years go on the reminisces become much more personal, about who was working in this lab and which person he met at the public health board. His good sense
Elizabeth Eslami
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, I believe, my fourth or fifth experience reading Lewis Thomas, and he never ceases to delight. Somehow he manages to be a crackerjack scientist and doctor, a clever, gently funny writer, and insanely avuncular simultaneously. Every patient - past, present, or future - should read his thoughtful essay here on Illness. And for those of you of a more literary bent who forswear books with scientific jargon, let me entice you with this tidbit: None other than Joyce Carol Oates first convince ...more
Roberta Weiner
This is why I love being in a book group - to get an assignment like this, a book I would never come across. It's a collection of essays that give you insight into the earlier years of modern medicine. The most timeless is simply called Illness, in which he makes the point that you can become a better doctor after experiencing illness yourself.
A really great book about medicine in the last century. It is written in a conversational tone. It is great for anyone wanting to learn more about medicine and read a great book. It is now one of my favorite books.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really a series of essays, that follow Dr. Thomas' life in medicine and its evolution from hand-holding to scientific care, sometimes unfortunately at the expense of dehumanizing the patient even more.
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A chronicle that starts at the epicenter of medicine but reverberates to inform on all facets of life. Though written in the 80s, Thomas' lessons are as, if not more, vital today for the young, be they medical students or anyone else.
Mike Harper
I read this book for a course in the history of 20th century medicine. It was fascinating insofar as it explained what the practice of medicine was like at the start of the century. It is an easy read, well written and without excessive technical language.
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting accounts of discovery and failure in academic medicine in New York City as it evolved from an art to a science. Particulary interesting to those who trained at the institutions mentioned: NYU Bellevue, Cornell, Rockefeller, etc.
4 Stars for the first half of the book, which gives a great account of medical practices during the first few decades of the 20th century, a great read for anyone involved in this field. After that I found myself rapidly losing interest in the anecdotes and personal theories of the author.
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marc Stryker
A journal-like commentary on the state of medicine past, present, and future. It's funny because his comments in 1975 about the state of medicine are just as accurate if made today. A great read. My favorite chapter is his praise of the nursing profession.
Gabrielle Sebaratnam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Comis
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-magic
Great book on the not-so-distant attempts of modern day (witch) doctors to understand the inner essences of all things somatic. Pretty interesting stuff at the end there on Lewis' attempts to understand the root causes of cancer.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic-science
Lewis thomas is certainly one of our best science essayists. I always enjoy his work. These are general essays mostly, about biology.
Daniel Hooker
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medicine, memoir
A classic. Great read from the one of the early fathers of medicine writing
Richard Cytowic
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A master of the personal essay. Evocative of medicine as practiced in his father's era (1910) and his own (1937 forward). He laments, as do I, the loss of the physician's physical touch.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fascinating essays on his career as a physician and microbiologist from 1930 to late 1980s - a time when scientific discoveries transformed medicine and health.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas goes between being fun, biographical, interesting, and scientific all over the place. It feels like a series of essays rather than a woven piece, but not without originality.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing essays on science and how it relates to everyday life and the medical world. I love the way Thomas writes.
Mar 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: medical
An inspiring book for all the medical types, and I LOVED it.
Brittany Petruzzi
More good stuff from Thomas.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I read this and I remember that I liked it, but I would need to read it again to accurately review it.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook
Easy book to read.
Courtney Handermann
Lewis Thomas does what no science class I've ever taken could do -- he makes me like science. Especially appreciated the stories from his own and his father's experiences in medicine.

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Lewis Thomas (November 25, 1913–December 3, 1993) was a physician, poet, etymologist, essayist, administrator, educator, policy advisor, and researcher.

Thomas was born in Flushing, New York and attended Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. He became Dean of Yale Medical School and New York University School of Medicine, and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute. His formative
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“It is not a simple life to be a single cell, although I have no right to say so, having been a single cell so long ago myself that I have no memory at all of that stage in my life.” 4 likes
“Have you noticed how often it happens that a really good idea -- the kind of idea that looks, as it approaches, like the explanation for everything about everything -- tends to hover near at hand when you are thinking hard about something quite different? There you are, halfway into a taxi, thinking about the condition of the cartilage in the right knee joint, and suddenly, with a whirring sound, in flies a new notion looking for a place to light. You'd better be sure you have a few bare spots, denuded of anything like thought, ready for its perching, or it will fly away into the dark.” 2 likes
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