The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 162: In Memory of Oliver Sacks

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Dr. Oliver Sacks makes exotic conditions like colorblindness relevant to our own condition, and gives us new perspectives on everyday challenges.
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Dr. Oliver Sacks was much more than a neurologist. In his books, he invited us to imagine the world from wildly different perspectives than our own. When he described individuals with neurological differences (that would be termed “deficits” by most doctors and other people), he helped his readers recognize the special gifts these people were able to mobilize and appreciate their humanity. He died on August 30, 2015, and he is missed.

Oliver Sacks as Author:

Many people are familiar with his best-known books, especially Awakenings, which was made into a popular movie starring Robin Williams as Dr. Oliver Sacks. Other popular titles included The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars and Musicophilia. Many years ago, we interviewed him on the topic of a lesser-known work, The Island of the Colorblind. Like all his books, it is captivating.

We offer our listeners this fascinating interview in memory of Oliver Sacks. It was originally broadcast on February 22, 1997.

This Week’s Guest:

Oliver Sacks was a neurologist and author. (His medical degree, BM Ch, was conferred by The Queen’s College, Oxford.) He practiced and taught at New York University School of Medicine and Columbia University.

Dr. Sacks wrote thought-provoking essays for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times and other publications. His best-selling books include Awakenings (1973), The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985), Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf (1989), An Anthropologist on Mars (1995), Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood (2001), Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (2007), The Mind’s Eye (2010) and Hallucinations (2012). The book we discussed with him was The Island of the Colorblind (1997). His autobiography, On the Move, was published this year (2015).

photo credit:Dan Lurie https://www.flickr.com/photos/dantekgeek/1593075185/ cc license 2.0, original photo modified.

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