Oliver Sacks, Neurologist And Bestselling Author Dies At Age 82

Having a shrink and all-around intellectual science and brain curious mother, we had a heavily read copy of “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat” by Oliver Sacks in our bookshelf growing up. It was one of the first non-picture books I would try to read, of course not being able to really get it until age 12 or 13.

The book definitely set the course for a lifelong curiosity about humans and their brains – how they can fail us and trick us and how they work to create beauty. It made me think about my own brain all the time, and what it was doing to me.

Dr. Sacks died on Sunday morning at his home in New York City after a battle with cancer.

He brought to light many disorders we now commonly discuss, such as Tourette’s and Asperger’s syndromes. He allowed open discussion of these syndromes inside of a general audience, taking it out of the clinician’s room and into the wider community.

This kind of service is rare among scientists, it allows people with neurological disorders to feel less alone.

One of my favorite pieces I read recently was regarding Sacks’s own disorder which he called “Face Blindness” an inability to remember or recognize people’s faces – even people he’s known for decades. It’s a great piece to read in honor of a great scientist.

[The New York Times]