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.  The location of

tungsten, at the intersection of Group VI and Period 6,

becomes synonymous here with the intersection of Sixth Avenue and

Sixth Street.  (There is no such intersection in New York,

of course, but it exists, conspicuously, in the New York

of my dreams.)  I dream of eating hamburgers made of

scandium.  Then I share my lunch with the heavy transition

metals.  Sometimes I dream of the indecipherable language of tin.


Paraphrases from the memoir Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks.