And I often dream of chemistry at night, dreams that conflate the past and the present, the grid of the periodic table transformed to the grid of Manhattan. […] Sometimes, too, I dream of the indecipherable language of tin (a confused memory, perhaps, of its plaintive “cry”). But my favorite dream is of going to the opera (I am Hafnium), sharing a box at the Met with the other heavy transition metals my old and valued friends Tantalum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, and Tungsten.
p. 317 (Uncle Tungsten (2001))
My own first love was biology. I spent a great part of my adolescence in the Natural History museum in London (and I still go to the Botanic Garden almost every day, and to the Zoo every Monday). The sense of diversity of the wonder of innumerable forms of life has always thrilled me beyond anything else.Oliver Sacks
Hydrogen selenide, I decided, was perhaps the worst smell in the world. But hydrogen telluride came close, was also a smell from hell. An up-to-date hell, I decided, would have not just rivers of fiery brimstone, but lakes of boiling selenium and tellurium, too.Oliver Sacks