Oliver Sacks

British neurologist and writer (1933–2015) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oliver Wolf Sacks CBE FRCP (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and writer.[2] Born in London, Sacks received his medical degree in 1958 from The Queen's College, Oxford, before moving to the United States, where he spent most of his career. He interned at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco and completed his residency in neurology and neuropathology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[2] After a fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he served as neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital's chronic-care facility in the Bronx, where he worked with a group of survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica, who had been unable to move on their own for decades. His treatment of those patients became the basis of his 1973 book Awakenings,[3] which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated feature film in 1990, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

Quick facts: Oliver Sacks CBE FRCP, Born, Died, Education,...
Oliver Sacks

A grey-haired Oliver Sacks with glasses and a beard
Sacks in 2013
Oliver Wolf Sacks

(1933-07-09)9 July 1933
London, England
Died30 August 2015(2015-08-30) (aged 82)
EducationUniversity of Oxford (BA 1954, BM BCh 1958)[1]
Known forNon-fiction books about his psychiatric and neurological patients
Medical career
ProfessionPhysician, professor, author, neurologist
InstitutionsNew York University
Columbia University
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
University of Warwick
Little Sisters of the Poor

His numerous other best-selling books were mostly collections of case studies of people, including himself, with neurological disorders. He also published hundreds of articles (both peer-reviewed scientific articles and articles for a general audience), not only about neurological disorders but also insightful book reviews and articles about the history of science, natural history, and nature. His writings have been featured in a wide range of media; The New York Times called him a "poet laureate of contemporary medicine", and "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century".[4] His books include a wealth of narrative detail about his experiences with his patients and his own experiences, and how patients and he coped with their conditions, often illuminating how the normal brain deals with perception, memory, and individuality. In addition to the information content, the beauty of his writing style is especially treasured by many of his readers. He and his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain were the subject of "Musical Minds", an episode of the PBS series Nova.

Sacks was appointed a CBE for services to medicine in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[5]

He once stated that the brain is the "most incredible thing in the universe".[6] He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about both his patients' and his own disorders and unusual experiences, with some of his books adapted for plays by major playwrights, feature films, animated short films, opera, dance, fine art, and musical works in the classical genre.[5][7]