November 25, 1913|
Flushing, New York
|Died||December 3, 1993
Manhattan, New York
|Fields||Biology, Science writer, Academic administration|
|Institutions||Tulane University School of Medicine (medical researcher)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University, Harvard Medical School|
|Notable awards||National Book Award (3)|
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 years as an independent medical researcher were at Tulane University School of Medicine.
He was invited to write regular essays in the New England Journal of Medicine. One collection of those essays, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974), won annual National Book Awards in two categories, Arts and Letters and The Sciences (both awards were split). (He also won a Christopher Award for that book.) Two other collections of essays (originally published in NEJM and elsewhere) were The Medusa and the Snail and Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony. In its first paperback edition, The Medusa and the Snail won another National Book Award in Science.[a]
His autobiography, The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine Watcher, is a record of a century of medicine and the changes which occurred in it. He also published a book on etymology titled Et Cetera, Et Cetera, poems, and numerous scientific papers.
Many of his essays discuss relationships among ideas or concepts using etymology as a starting point. Others concern the cultural implications of scientific discoveries and the growing awareness of ecology. In his essay on Mahler's Ninth Symphony, Thomas addresses the anxieties produced by the development of nuclear weapons. Thomas is often quoted, given his notably eclectic interests and superlative prose style.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Lewis Thomas|
- The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, 1974, Viking Press: ISBN 0-670-43442-6, Penguin Books, 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-14-004743-3
- The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher, 1979, Viking Press: ISBN 0-670-46568-2, Penguin Books, 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-14-024319-4
- Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony, 1983, Viking Press: ISBN 0-670-70390-7, Penguin Books, 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-14-024328-3
- The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine-Watcher, 1983, Viking: ISBN 0-670-79533-X, Penguin Books, 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-14-024327-5
- Et Cetera, Et Cetera: Notes of a Word-Watcher, 1990. Little Brown & Co ISBN 0-316-84099-8, Welcome Rain, 2000 ISBN 1-56649-166-5
- The Fragile Species, 1992, Scribner, ISBN 0-684-19420-1, Simon & Schuster, 1996 paperback: ISBN 0-684-84302-1
- "National Book Awards – 1975". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
(With acceptance speech by Thomas.)
- "National Book Awards – 1981". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- Lewis Thomas: Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony
- Dictionary of Literary Biography: Volume 275: Twentieth-Century American Nature Writers: Prose, 2003. Succinct review of Thomas' life and of the books listed above. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
- A film clip "The Open Mind - Genetic Manipulation (1983) is available at the Internet Archive
- A film clip "The Open Mind - "The Youngest Scientist: Notes of a Medicine Watcher" (1983)" is available at the Internet Archive