23 April is recognised as the World Book and Copyright Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). On 4 April 2017, Scientix published eight great science books selected by its Scientix Ambassadors to give you the opportunity to read some or all of them before the World Book Day. Save the date and join us on this occasion to celebrate great literature in the field of science!

Click on one of the buttons to see the two selected books per subject.

For the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April 2017, teachers are invited to participate in a discussion in an open forum here about the selected books and share ideas on how they can be used in science lessons. Scientix will award the best ideas shared with this community.

The goal of the competition is twofold:

  • To raise general awareness about science and scientific literacy through a community based approach and peer-reviewed exchange of information.
  • To show how scientific literature can improve classroom discussions and activities.

You are welcome to use the forum here to introduce yourself and to get to know other colleagues interested in science literature. Scientix will use the discussion forum to inform you as soon as new discussion threads are added on 23 April. You will receive a notification by e-mail if you introduce yourself in the discussion thread.

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Share your classroom ideas here
23/04/2017 07:43
Share your classroom ideas here inspired by Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

+2 (2 Votes)

RE: Share your classroom ideas here
25/04/2017 21:55 as a reply to Robert Baldursson.
Today is holiday in Portugal – we celebrate our “Carnation Revolution”, and, I just received from a former student the link to a TV news: Thomas Pesquet, the youngest ESA Astronaut, took some pictures to Portugal from the ISS – very nice!
I spent my holiday reading “Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood.” – very nice, too!
When I started my reading, last week, I immediately realized it was a great book, and I regret I didn´t read it before! Even, because, the only long term work I’ve done before, with students, in 2011/12, based on a Portuguese science literature book, named “Haja Luz! – Uma História da Química Através de Tudo” (“Let there be light! One History of Chemistry Through Everything” – my translation…), was written by a Chemist and Art Critic, Prof. Jorge Calado. Of course, “Oncle Tungsten” has a lot of similarities with “Haja Luz!”, it’s cited often there, and, very curious, Roald Hoffmann, the Nobel Chemist 1981 Prize, who offered Oliver Sacks a piece of tungsten in 1997, had invited before, in 1982, Prof. Jorge Calado to teach at Cornell University the new topic “The Art of Science”! By the way, Roald Hoffmann wrote with Carl  Djerassi, the theater play “Oxygen”, a fictional narrative about the  discovery of the vital gas by Lavoisier, Priestley and Sheele.( – a link to a Portuguese adaptation of “Oxygen”)
Only by reading the first chapter of the book, I started to do, as a teacher, a short term work: I immediately recommended it to some former students, I used to prepare for Physics and Chemistry Olympiads, and I advertised it to some colleagues at a professional Facebook groups.
With my actual students I’ll do a middle term work: I’ll start my lessons next week, about the Periodic Table, reading some texts of the book, to do some “abstracts” of the topic studied before – there’s a nice literary text, where Bohr structure of the electrons in the atom, is  related with the position of the element at the Periodic Table and the reactivity of the elementary substance… and another one about the “geography” of the Table. I’ll make some of my next questions, for written tests, using little texts from all over the book. For example, there’s a very funny story about acid-base reactions, when uncle Dave makes Oliver drink salty water after mixing HCl and NaHO… But, the book is full of other great episodes about a lot of Physics and Chemistry topics… Another work could be, a more experimental one, of reproducing some of the experiments the little Oliver has done, not so common, like producing solutions with a density much higher than water where metals don’t sink!
Finally, I hope I can do a long term Project Work, with secondary students next year. In fact, according to me, the Portuguese version of the book looks like a little bit heavy for most of the students until 13 years old. To older students, I would recommend the entire book. After reading it I would suggest each group of students, to choose a Scientist to do a work about its personality, bringing some humanity to Science! Maybe, for motivation, I would recommend to the students the coming soon National Geographic episodes about Einstein Life “Genius” (National Geographic pictures also inspired Oliver Sacks, the boy, for photography J). My idea is, using the profession of Oliver Sacks, and its great interest in different people, referred in the book, try to relate Physics and Chemistry with Neurosciences (the fashion research topic of the moment) and Scientists character.
Reading “Uncle Tungsten”, was a pleasure, and already a great “training course” as it touches almost all the topics I have to teach. Exploiting the book with students will bring me, for sure, “the freedom and the joy” science brought to Mendleev, so admired by Oliver Sacks.
+2 (2 Votes)

RE: Share your classroom ideas here
26/04/2017 15:19 as a reply to Robert Baldursson.
Dear Robert, hello!
Yesterday I shared my opinion about Uncle Tungsten here, but, today I saw another coleague opinion about the same book in another "table"... Everything is ok with my submission or should I paste it to the other table?
Thank you,
Teresa Paiva
0 (0 Votes)

RE: Share your classroom ideas here
27/04/2017 10:39 as a reply to Maria Teresa de Paiva.
Dear Teresa, thank you so much for reading about "Uncle Tungsten" and for sharing your ideas for activities based on the book. I realise that other teachers have created new threads for their ideas, but it is best to use this thread to share and discuss the ideas for this book in particular. I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed so much reading the book and that you found it useful - I was personally not aware of the book's relationship with other literature in the field of science, but it makes sense! Was it easy for you to find the book?
0 (0 Votes)

RE: Share your classroom ideas here
27/04/2017 11:12 as a reply to Robert Baldursson.
Dear Robert!
I didn't find the book at the first bookshop, but in the second I looked for it (in the same shoping center) - there it was! I know, that in some libraries they don't have it in the shop, but they order it to the editor (some colegues are aleady in the way to read it...). I'm talking about the Portuguese version!
Yesterday I tried do buy "I, Robot" in its portuguese version and I was not so lucky - it woul take at least 15 days for the library to have it. So, I bought the english version! (Impressive, isn't it?!).
It's that I'll try to idealize a work for sutdents with the Azimov book! Not tha I like science fiction (To be true, I don't like!) - but, teachers have to do a lot of unpleasent work... (that after became nice, because of students, isn't it?)The funny thing is that Asimov was too a Chemist, and, like Oliver Sacks, with Russion origins...
Let´s see if I still have time to reead "I, Robot" until the end of the month...
0 (0 Votes)

These are the eight science books selected for the World Book Day and STEM Discovery Week 2017! In order to compete in our competition, start by:

  1. Read one or more of the selected titles
  2. Design an idea for a classroom activity based on your book
  3. Share your idea with peers in the discussion forum above during the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April

Science books


This world famous book in the field of physics explores the origin of our universe, including the Big Bang and black holes, and the relevance of concepts such as space and time and other forces that govern our existence.

Author: Stephen Hawking

Originally published: 1988

Uncle Tungsten was a producer of tungsten-filament lightbulbs who ignited Oliver Sacks’ interest in chemistry, especially chemical reactions and the periodic table. This book is a fascinating story about scientific discoveries and inspiration during childhood.

Author: Oliver Sacks

Originally published: 2001

A brief history of time

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood

Technology books

A young boy, who is the outcome of genetic experiments, possesses great tactical skills playing computer games. This may be just what mankind has been waiting for in order to fight back against invasive alien species.

Author: Orson Scott Card

Originally published: 1985

This futuristic science-fiction describes the technical evolution of robots that are originally developed in order to serve humans. However, they eventually become so advanced that humans become obsolete.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Originally published: 1950

Ender's Game

I, Robot

Engineering books

Engineers can see a structure where there is none in place, possessing the ability to turn problems into solutions and solutions. This book collects narratives and case studies to show how engineering is used to innovate, standardise and optimise.

Author: Guru Madhavan

Originally published: 2015

This book is a collection of 25 entertaining experiments and activities in engineering in everyday situations, including step-by-step instructions, expected results of each activity and simple scientific background for each experiment.

Author: Janice VanCleave

Originally published: 2007

Applied minds: How engineers think

Engineering for every kid: Easy activities that make learning science fun

Mathematics books

Robert really dislikes studying maths, but this changes when he meets the Number Devil, who appears in Robert’s dreams to teach him maths and inspire him. With the help of the Number Devil, Robert gets to know fractions, geometry and other mathematic concepts.

Author: Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Originally published: 1997

Mr. Ruche receives a delivery to his house in Paris including a great number of maths books from Brazil. His parrot likes to talk about maths and together they give lessons to children. However, he soon discovers the real reason behind the delivery.

Author: Denis Guedj

Originally published: 1998

The number devil: a mathematical adventure

The Parrot's Theorem

STEM Discovery Week IN NUMBERS

SDW17 Infograph

This infograph demonstrates the main achievements accomplished and outreach during STEM Discovery Week 2017.




‘Make your own Poster’ with your favourite subjects and resources from the Scientix Resources Respository. Read more.


Organise or participate in an event dedicated to any STEM subject and opportunities from 24 to 30 April 2017. Read more.


Share ideas for classroom activities in relation to selected science books and discuss them in an open forum. Read more.