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Looking Back With Dr. Sacks

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:27 PM

Over the years, Dr. Oliver Sacks has shared with us stories of chemistry, music, neurology, hallucinations and more, so much more. In his most recent book, he shares something a little unexpected: delightful photos of his younger days. We highly suggest checking out his memoir, On The Move, for more photos, and of course, the honesty and humor he brings to all his writing.



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Comments [52]

Anoninimous from Texas City, TX

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Dec. 03 2015 04:43 PM
Kylie Hughes from Burleigh Waters, Queensland, Australia

Robert, what a beautiful ode to an amazing man! Reverie and poignancy is rarely combined and I was deeply moved by this podcast. I conceived a deep love for Dr. Sacks when I started reading his books, and Radiolab's conversations with him over the years have been a delightful opportunity to nudge closer to him. Thanks for all your great work.

Oct. 21 2015 08:04 PM
Jennifer from Williamsburg, VA

For me, Oliver Sacks is responsible for humanizing the atypical individual. He is the reason we understand how the colorblind perceive, that the Parkinsonian patient can move, that the Tourette's person is in time. The acceptance of our neurodiverse population is on the rise, thankfully, and I believe that his personification of the individuals he wrote about provided a means for the reader to get to know and respect the lives of others.

Oct. 16 2015 08:49 AM
Stefani from omaha ne

I have listened to this and Fresh Aire again. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! Wish I could have been in Brooklyn for this!

Oct. 07 2015 08:35 PM

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Sep. 25 2015 07:39 AM
Ott from Tartu, Estonia

I'm listening now and....this is too sad and same time it's give so much hope.

Hope to see love, life, universe and die with smile and think: It's been amazing here! Let's take a another trip!

This is my last calling for Oliver:

Ma loodan, et sa leiad vastuseid oma küsimustele.
Toonelas näeme ja naerame, mu armas Oliver!

P.S. Radiolab team - thank you for doing everything.
You literally give me light in the day!
And you have been doing me better person, more open-mind and better science teacher!

Sep. 20 2015 06:28 AM
Sarah from Frederick, MD

All of the input from Oliver Sacks into Radiolab made me write a poem for him. For you, Oliver Sacks:

"Waiting for Indigo"

Hailey blinked at the starlight that lit up the sky
In wait for her comet to pass the world by
A brilliant streak of celestial dye
Coloring her indigo

A man of rare vision, from earth to deep space
Enthralled by our beauty, our time and our place
He wrote of the mystery behind every face
Waiting for indigo

His eyes blind to faces - the men pitied him
Who long searched for love with a future so grim
Instead, he found awe by a color within
The subtle glow of indigo

A hue close to heaven, the scientist said,
While his body betrayed him: three months until death
Undaunted, he wrote, and worldwide tears were shed
When he found his indigo

Sep. 11 2015 02:46 PM
Richard from Warren, CT

This was an incredible show. One of the best remembrances of Sacks I've heard (yet).

Sep. 09 2015 03:59 PM
Olivier Michaud from QuÉbec


Anyone knows what is the song at the end of the podcast? Don't know how to find the info on radiolab website...



Sep. 05 2015 02:01 PM
Peter from St. Paul

There are many shining stars in the universe but when you find one that shines more brightly and study it, you get a glimpse into what makes all stars bright. The part of Oliver's story that was shared illuminates the adventurer, trickster, professor, loneliness, amazement, curiosity, love and lives in all of us. It also is a shining example of what one can achieve in one short life. Here's to you Dr. Sacks. And here's to your indigo example for us all.

Sep. 04 2015 08:15 AM
Lina from Pereira, Colombia.

Eternally grateful to radiolab for introducing me to Dr. sacks incredible mind. What an amazing example of humanity. Thanks guys. He will be incredibly missed.

Sep. 02 2015 11:36 PM

I hope Dr. Sacks had seen Indigo again...

Sep. 01 2015 09:01 PM
Bill DiGiacomo from Manassas, VA

Thank you for honoring and remembering such an amazing human being in that special way that only Radiolab can.

Sep. 01 2015 07:37 AM
Jane from Colorado

Robert, you have such a wonderful "interview voice." Your incredible voice interwoven with Dr Sacks' story made my heart break. No one should feel as alone as he did, for so long, or ever. I sincerely hope he got as much Indigo before he died as he possibly could. And although I'm no believer, I like to picture him surrounded by Indigo and people who love him, for eternity.

Aug. 31 2015 10:18 PM
roxie from Los Angeles

I felt an indescribable pain in my chest and emptiness in my mind the moment I heard he was gone. I hope he found the answers to all the questions he couldn't answer here. Rest In Indigo

Aug. 31 2015 04:46 PM
Naomi T. from Brooklyn

Rest in peace poet of nature of soul solo swimmer of the wimmer of the wonder the thunder the blunder the sunder the musicophiliamotorcyclic memory master of colorblind islands the swimmer through souls...

Aug. 31 2015 03:56 PM
Rudy from Michigan

I would like to think Dr. Sachs is swimming in Indigo. I only wish I could read or listen to him describe it. Oh he had such a beautiful mind.

Aug. 31 2015 01:11 PM
Flavia from Sao Paulo, Brazil

I just heard this podcast today, I'm deeply touched and wanted to let you know how very much I appreciated it. Thank you!

Aug. 31 2015 01:08 PM
Márcio Duarte from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I´ve come across Radiolab by googling "best podcast" and it was 1st in a few lists i found. From the very first Podcast i knew i´d be in contact with experiencies and people i´d be craving to listen to even without knowing them. Dr. Oliver Sacks is an example. I still don´t know much about his work (or if i already know, i haven´t associated his work with his character), but the few podcasts i´ve listented to with his participation made me understand the profound respect the radiolab team and listeners had for him. Thanks for introducing me to his work with such gentleness.

Aug. 31 2015 11:47 AM
Cate from Colorado

I am so sorry that this very human being is gone. I wish I knew just one person as honest and fearless as him who could step in to his place, but no.

Aug. 31 2015 09:44 AM
Brent from Lansing, MI

It's a sad day indeed, and I have no doubt that Dr. Sachs will be sorely missed by your staff and the listeners as well. Thank you for introducing him to people like myself, who have grown to love hearing his tales and insight over the years.

Aug. 31 2015 12:52 AM
Mariann from Utah

I have never felt the need to comment, but with the loss of Dr. Sacks I needed to let Radiolab know how much I am thinking about them. Thank you for having him on and letting me listen to his words.

Aug. 30 2015 11:43 PM
hadashi from Los Angeles

when i heard the news that the world lost Dr. Sacks today, of course this is the first place i came. indeed, condolences to all of you at Radiolab who have done so much to not only introduce him to so many people, but also give longtime "fans" the opportunity to hear him in his own voice present himself, and his wonderfully told stories of human experience. i discovered Dr. Sacks through his books when i was a teenager, and it was a life-changing experience in both the way i regarded science & storytelling. reading the tributes to him here is wonderful. again, thank you Radiolab for letting us hear your friend so much.

Aug. 30 2015 11:25 PM
Malena Leon from Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico

We will miss Oliver on the shows and the world will surely miss his inquiring, exploring, curious mind. What a fantastic man he was!

Aug. 30 2015 11:20 PM
Eric from Minneapolis

I just wanted to say thank you to the people at Radiolab who introduced me to Dr. Sacks and his work. My condolences to those who were close to him. He sounded like a fantastic person and I'm so glad that I feel like I kind of got to know of hime because of your program.

Aug. 30 2015 09:50 PM

Robert and the Radiolab staff, sincere condolences on the loss of Dr. Sacks. Only a few such people come along each generation -- those who can both explore and explain science in a way that touches our intellect as well as our hearts.

Aug. 30 2015 08:18 PM
David Norenberg from Montreal, QC

I just heard the news of Dr. Sacks passing and felt like Radio Lab was the only place I could share my deep feelings with a community who knew well his work and passion. Thanks just don't seem to be enough to offer to a man who shared so much of his life, practice, and love of knowledge with so many. To Jad and Robert and the Radio Lab staff who got to work with Dr. Sacks, my sincere condolences. As well to his friends and family. I agree completely with others here who said we are lucky...and a far better have had Dr. Sacks among us.

Aug. 30 2015 06:58 PM
PJ from New York

I had listened to the two Oliver Sacks pieces a few weeks back and they bought tears to my eyes, I was listening once more to them today when I saw the news he had passed. One thing came across from everything I ever read or heard and it was the Oliver would best be described as a ‘gentle soul.’ We are all better for him and his work and today the world is a little bit darker by his absence. Condolences to Robert on losing such a friend.

Aug. 30 2015 06:42 PM
Kelly S. from La Crosse, Wisconsin

The relationship with have with luminaries we read or listen to on public media is difficult to define, but I wanted to share my grief today for the loss of someone whom I never had the honor to meet, but whose presence and scholarship has always made me feel grateful to share the planet with him. Before I had read any of Dr. Sacks' work or heard his delightful voice on radiolab, I first encountered him through researching W.H.Auden and reading his thoughtful reminiscence of the poet, published by Stephen Spender. I re-read it today and feel some of those words apply to my experience of Oliver Sacks, himself, as well: "that which was most constant in his complex, agile, and often enigmatic character--first and finally, the quality of dearness;" "He showed us ourselves, he drew us into greater possibilities of being;" "but though the [human cathedral] crumbled, something persisted, a sort of living chorus, composed of his works, his words, his memories and his friends." You will be missed and remembered, Dr. Sacks, even by those of us who never called you Oliver.

Aug. 30 2015 06:21 PM
Heather from Centennial, CO

Thank you, RadioLab for introducing me to Dr. Sacks. I just finished On the Move and am saddened to hear of the loss of a great man, doctor, and scientist. My condolences to those who knew him personally.

Aug. 30 2015 06:04 PM
Mintie from Chicago

Thanks, Radiolab, for introducing me to Dr. Sacks, which subsequently made me love his writing and his work, and finding neurology fascinating and cool. He was a great man and he will be missed.

Aug. 30 2015 05:49 PM
Lisa Amber

Super sad today. RIP "Poet Laureate of Medicine"

Aug. 30 2015 04:42 PM
Galena Alyson Canada from Planet Earth

Oh Oliver, I'm going to miss you so much. You've been my hero my whole life. When I grow up I want to live just as you did. Thank you for all the thoughts, for all your words. You kindly informed me right to the end. I'll cherish you always.

Aug. 30 2015 04:20 PM
Minder from East Lansing, MI

I could feel the affection and joy Robert took in his time with Dr. Sachs, I am so sorry for your personal loss. I have a vision impairment myself and Dr. Sachs's writing has enriched my life in so many ways, actually enriched my experience of losing vision by enabling me to think about it as an amazing example of how the brain works, perception, and how to live thoughtfully. Thank you RadioLab for bringing Dr. Sachs into my life. He has left such a rich legacy.

Aug. 30 2015 04:15 PM
cheryl from Portsmouth, NH

The world lost one of the great scientists today. I've been influenced and intrigued by his work since I was in high school. Thank you Radiolab for letting us get to know him even better.

Aug. 30 2015 12:30 PM

RIP Oliver Sacks. You were one of the luminaries who got me into cognitive science in the first place...

Aug. 30 2015 12:14 PM
Bernard Farrell from Massachusetts

So sad to see that Oliver died today. His writings are entertaining, informative and gripping. I'm so thankful for the various Radiolab interviews over the years. A great loss for all of us.

Aug. 30 2015 07:57 AM
JCinCT from Connecticut

Really enjoyed these photos....met Oliver Sacks at a Fern Society meeting at the New York Botanical Gardens.....Lovely, intelligent, compassionate man, continually interested in discovering the myriad secrets of life. The photos are fab...thanks.

Aug. 22 2015 05:39 PM
Bob Lautenslager from Educator

I grew up and became a chemist, a dyslexic, it was
the only thing that made sense to me. I once swam
across an Adirondack lake with Dr Sacks, at the Blue
Mountain Center... It was strange

Aug. 17 2015 10:39 PM
Charles Warren from Cordova, Alabama

Dr.Oliver Sacks, a writer...really there should be created a word that reflects the sheer curiosity of this polymath. A man who could write in UNCLE TUNGSTEN that he often dreams of chemistry at night and that his favorite one is going to the opera (he is Hafnium or metal) and he shares a box at the met with other transition metals. And really all along he was always the conductor of his own music.

Aug. 15 2015 02:07 PM

<3 <3 <3

Aug. 06 2015 10:17 PM
Guillermo Vespa from Boston, Mass.

WOW ! The picture on the motorcycle makes him look like a dude today. They say fashion, style, etc. comes back around again. That there's nothing new. It's true ! He's HOT !

Aug. 01 2015 04:07 PM
Patrick from North Carolina

What was the name of the song at the end of the show?

Jul. 26 2015 08:21 PM
Steve MacIntyre from Scorpion Gulch

Such a moving show. I see the tags include "funny", "life", "sweet" and "sad" . All true.

Throughout my adult life, Oliver Sacks has been one of my intellectual heroes — in my personal pantheon with Stephen Jay Gould, Lewis Lapham, Paul Krugman and a select few others. But who knew that Oliver Sacks rode a Beemer and had the movie-star looks that could well have cast him as a handsome, young Tony Soprano or in the Marlon Brando role in The Wild One. That certainly sets him apart from the others in the pantheon.

Thank you.

Jul. 26 2015 08:01 PM
Lisa Smth from Washington State

I just saw the photo of his bike. It is the same bike I own now: a BMW R60/2. Who woulda thunk it?
PS. Sacks not Sachs.

Jul. 26 2015 12:17 PM
Lisa C Smith from Washington State

This program was beautifully produced and captured so much of the richness of Oliver Sachs's life and mind. I am almost always delighted and riveted by the work you produce, but this show was a stand-out. Bravo and many thanks!

Jul. 26 2015 12:00 PM
Jude Pardee from Santa Fe, NM, USA

Oliver Sacks is such a lovable man! I can only imagine that many friends and acquaintances must have fallen in love with him during his lonely years. It is good that he lost his defenses when Billy declared himself (as perfectly as he did).

Jul. 25 2015 04:31 PM
Derek Tucker from Chicago

Such a remarkable man in so many different ways. One can only wonder if the Supreme court had made their landmark July 2015 ruling in 1975 (or society had been more self-honest and fair-minded regarding sexual orientation in general) how his inner life may have been less aparently dreary, nevertheless, It is beautiful that now that dreariness is gone

Jul. 24 2015 10:32 PM
Linda Lea from Denver

Wishing waves of indigo for Oliver Sacks, and may his transition to the next state continue his ability to wonder and reveal.

Jul. 24 2015 10:01 PM
JerryAnn from Ontario

Wonderful interview with Dr. Sacks. So touching. I wish him the eternal beauty of 'indigo' and all the loving care and patient sensitivity he has given to others. Looking forward to reading his memoir. (Man! I LOVE that pix of him on the motorcycle: illustrates his zest for life!)

Jul. 24 2015 02:21 PM
JaCee from boston

What a show! The beating heart story and then Dr. Sacks! Hope he's OK. Superior programming! We luv RadioLab and the hosts!

Jul. 24 2015 02:13 PM
Jackie Sullivan from Manhattan

I never would have guessed weight lifting! These are great, thanks for sharing. Love the show and love when Dr. Sacks is on. You're all such an inspiration.

Jul. 24 2015 12:19 PM

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