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Why did Oliver Sacks love the periodic table so much?

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The renowned physician and writer Oliver Sacks was known for his amazing empathy for other people. But his first “friends” as a child, as he described, were not people but numbers, minerals, metals, and plants. He loved these things throughout his life and even incorporated them into his wardrobe.

- Out of her sympathy.

It didn't start with people.

It goes much beyond that.

(suspense music) The first friends he had at six, he says, 'Were, numbers.'

Numbers, then he went to minerals and metals at 10.

Then elements, plants came before and people.

Humanity was the very last thing (suspense music) that was a reaction to great suffering.

(suspense music) (water flowing) - The love of chemistry and of the periodic table was an absolutely constant with me from an early age.

I loved the elements since I was 10 or 11.

I have a periodic table bedspread on my bed.

I have shopping bags with periodic tables.

I have many periodic table t-shirts and I have some periodic table socks.