Oliver Sacks (Oliver Wolf Sacks)

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, FRCP (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist, naturalist and author who spent his professional life in the United States. Oliver Sacks felt that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe” and therefore important to study. He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about his patients’ disorders, with some of his books adapted for film and stage. After Sacks received his medical degree from The Queen’s College, Oxford in 1960, he interned at Middlesex Hospital (part of University College, London) and moved to the U.S. He then interned at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco and completed his residency in neurology and neuropathology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He relocated to New York in 1965, where he became professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Between 2007 and 2012, he was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also held the position of “Columbia Artist”, which recognized his contributions to art and science. Oliver Sacks was also a faculty member at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a visiting professor at the University of Warwick.

Oliver Sacks was the author of numerous best-selling books, mostly collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders. 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 twentieth century”. His books included a wealth of narrative detail about his experiences with patients, and how they coped with their conditions, often illuminating how the normal brain deals with perception, memory and individuality. Awakenings (1973), an autobiographical account of his efforts to help people with encephalitis lethargica regain proper neurological function, was adapted into the Academy Award-nominated film in 1990, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He and his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain were the subject of “Musical Minds”, an episode of the PBS series Nova. In 2008 Sacks was awarded a CBE for services to literature during the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Sacks underwent radiation therapy in 2006 for a uveal melanoma in his right eye. He discussed his loss of stereoscopic vision, caused by the treatment, in a 2010 article, then expanded on it in his book The Mind’s Eye later that year. In January 2015 metastases from the ocular tumour were discovered in his liver and brain. Sacks announced this development in a February New York Times op-ed piece and estimated his remaining time in “months”. He expressed his intent to “live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can”. He added: “I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.” Sacks died from the disease on 30 August 2015 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 82.

More Images

  • 55d1f3321400002e002e30bb -

  • 151438715_1440940525 -

Born

  • July, 09, 1933
  • United Kingdom
  • Willesden, London

Died

  • August, 30, 2015
  • USA
  • Manhattan, New York

Cause of Death

  • Uveal melanoma

5392 profile views