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Happy Birthday, Good Dr. Sacks

Tuesday, July 09, 2013 - 05:00 PM

One of our favorite human beings turns 80 this week. To celebrate, Robert asks Oliver Sacks to look back on his career, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career.

More Oliver:

"The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)" Oliver Sacks reflects on his life, and turning 80, in the New York Times

"Awakenings" The 1990 movie based on Oliver's book of the same name.


Dr. Oliver Sacks


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Comments [22]

Warren from Kingston, Jamaica

Rest in peace buddy. Thank you for all you did

Aug. 30 2015 03:25 PM
Judy from Le Mans, France

A very happy birthday to you! Always a pleasure to tune into your thinking; looking forward to reading your new book.

Jun. 01 2015 03:33 PM
Alice Havisham from Oviedo, FL

I love your birthday pod casts, the fact that you guys take time to do research of the great people in this world and commemorate them makes me so happy. I love this story especially because it tells of an adventure of a profession transition. He dreamed of becoming a scientist and ended up writing about them and their research. It was interesting to hear the devastating story about the worms and the lost notebook but I think it led him to fulfill his place in the world as a writer instead. He kept detailed and descriptive notes as a scientist which led him to be well prepared for this occupation. So happy for Doctor Sacks and all the adventures we heard about during this awesome podcast!

Jan. 26 2015 10:57 PM
Nazzie from Texas

I'm an educator inspired by Dr. Sacks. I assess and manage educational services for children with disabilities in the elementary school setting. Dr. Sacks inspires me to write in my reports about the children I assess in a humanistic way rather than just with standard scores and percentiles. Teachers and parents value my reports much more when they can see in my writing that I am portraying the child they know so well. I also try to help the teachers I work with to use descriptive and specific language when they talk about their students. This helps all of the professionals working to help the child in some way better communicate and serve the child. More than just neurology benefits from Dr. Sacks example. Other service fields like education and social work should also take note of his style and approach.

Nov. 09 2014 08:41 AM
Anna from Seattle, WA

Who knows what the ending music is on this piece? I love it!


Aug. 27 2013 01:07 PM
Jen from Canada

It isn't the stories in themselves that contain medical revelations, but that they could serve as a guide to other physicians for how to observe. The fact that they're so rich and enjoyable to read is a side effect.
Thanks for this one!

Aug. 09 2013 03:24 PM

Happy Birthday Dr. Sacks! My favorite episodes usually have Dr. Sacks in them. What an amazing person with an amazing mind!

Jul. 27 2013 02:54 PM
Dennis from St. P., Russia

Sacks books are a remarkable example of science works uniting accurate descriptions and empathy to an object of investigation, which seems to be impossible when the object is a human being.
They are widely spread and well known even in the Luria's motherland.
P. S. Come on, Mr. Krulwich! Stop playing a balalaika sound each time you're talking about Russians!
Your grateful listeners from St. Petersburg.

Jul. 26 2013 06:48 PM
Luci from Los Angeles

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people. Keep on doing all your important work. You have helped to keep me afloat during hard times. What an amazing journey you have had - and thank you for sharing it with us!

Jul. 22 2013 01:38 PM
Raj Kanji from South Africa

Happy birthday. Just read Uncle Tungsten and previously listened to your talk on Musicophilia in a Harlem Church....just awestruck on your powers of perception.
I am pleased to hear that "evidence based medicine" is not the only method to generate new ideas or define .

Maybe a talk or book on "methods of perceiving"?

Jul. 21 2013 01:07 PM
Shellie from Chicago

RadioLab owes a lot to Oliver Sachs. He's by far my favorite guest on the show. He let me know it's okay to eat the same thing every day, face blindness is especially funny when you don't recognize yourself, and magnets are awesome! Happy Birthday to him.

Jul. 19 2013 04:03 PM
Chris from Dallas

A great article my brain tied to this podcast exposing the problems our culture creates expecting the "serious" work to be technical and concise.

Jul. 18 2013 11:49 AM

This is more like it, Radiolab. Fascinating subjects, scientifically-minded subject matter. Yeah a lot of it was culled from the intro to Man Who Mistook his Wife... but hey! This is still heart-warming, intriguing and well-produced. Great job. And Happy birthday Dr. Sacks, you amusing genius, you.

Jul. 18 2013 07:59 AM
obseved from L A

He made this question clearer to me,
Do I understand I am here

Jul. 17 2013 01:46 PM
Nicole from Miami, FL

Happy Birthday, Dr. Sacks! Our birthdays are one day apart, though I just turned 36. You're an inspiration!

Jul. 14 2013 07:25 PM
Leynia from Minnesota

I loved that you had Dr. Sacks on. I would have enjoyed the interview more if he were not interrupted so frequently.

Jul. 13 2013 10:58 PM
Sylvia Richman from Sacramento

It is lovely to have you bring us along to Dr. Sacks office to wish him "Happy Birthday" and hear what he has been thinking about, in the same way as he himself has helped countless readers spend time with and get to know the people he has treated. What I am happy to learn from both occasions is not only the science behind the story (which is fascinating !) but also how to confront the world as a mature, aware, insightful person, and a mensch. The closing waltz, capturing that spirit, was very fitting. Does anyone recognize that piece?

Jul. 11 2013 05:29 PM
Matt Falkenstein from Washington, D.C.

Krulwich paid him the ultimate compliment: "You have paved the way". One of my favorite guests on Radio Lab. Happy Birthday, Dr Sacks!

Jul. 11 2013 04:28 PM
arnold from L A CA

He has sustained the who am I question, thanks

Jul. 11 2013 03:39 PM
Travis from Oregon

Perhaps as a tribute to Dr. Sacks, or maybe just because it was so hilarious, we should adopt his use of the phrase "with Sacksian alacrity" and bring it to the vernacular.

Jul. 11 2013 07:50 AM
Jean from Dumont, NJ

This man is my hero. His lifelong commitment to normalizing mental health issues bestows a great kindness onto the human race. Happy Birthday!

Jul. 10 2013 08:47 AM
Erin O'Brien from Pennsylvania

Once again, thank you for a fascinating podcast! Medicine is truly an art as much as it is science. Dr. Sacks is such an interesting man. As a physician, I personally am fascinated by the literary descriptions of diseases found in early medical tomes. Present-day physicians can be thankful for the depth with which earlier physicians wrote about pathology! I love it!

Medical journals can be soooooo dry! We need more docs like Dr. Sacks!
Happy Birthday!!!

Jul. 09 2013 10:15 PM

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