Oliver Sacks


Dr. Oliver Sacks is concerned with the link between body and mind, and the ways the whole person adapts to different neurological conditions. He was born in London and obtained his medical degree at Oxford. In the early 1960s he moved to the United States, where he completed an internship at UCSF and a residency in neurology at UCLA. Since 1965 he has lived in New York, where he is clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, adjunct professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine and consultant neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor and at Beth Abraham Hospital. In 1966 Dr Sacks was a consulting neurologist for Beth Abraham, where he encountered an extraordinary group of patients, many of whom had spent decades in strange, frozen states, like human statues, unable to initiate movement. These patients were survivors of the great epidemic of sleepy sickness that had swept the world from 1916 – 1927. They became the subjects of his book, Awakenings (1973), which later inspired a play by Harold Pinter, “A Kind of Alaska” and the Oscarnominated Hollywood movie, “Awakenings,” starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Dr. Sacks is perhaps best known for his bestselling 1985 collection of case histories from the far borderlands of neurological experience, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. In 1989, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on what he calls the “neuroanthropology” of Tourette’s syndrome, a c o n d i t i o n marked by involuntary tics and utterances. His seven books have received numerous awards and been translated into 22 languages.