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July 9: Oliver Sacks

July 9, 2014

02+sacks+w+BrainNeurologist and extraordinary medical writer Oliver Sacks was born in North London into a family of scientists and physicians on this date in 1933. He has lived in New York since 1965 and, while teaching at Columbia, Yeshiva University, and New York University and practicing medicine at several institutions, he has turned out a series of fascinating books and articles that explore the borderlands of human neurology (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, and An Anthropologist on Mars), the nature and the tricks of human consciousness (Musicophilia, The Mind’s Eye, and Hallucinations), medical culture (Migraine and A Leg to Stand On), deafness (Seeing Voices) and colorblindness (The Island of the Colorblind) — and personal aspects of being Jewish, gay (but celibate), intensely shy, unable to recognize faces, recklessly experimental with drugs, in love with motorcycles, and other facets of Sacksiness that have granted him an ever-compelling and insightful voice. To see him speaking about hallucinations and the human mind, look below.

“My patients come to me with stories. They have predicaments. They have plights. They come in searching for ways of dealing with these things. There is something dramatic in all this.” —Oliver Sacks