“Narrative and Science”
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“Oliver Sacks’s writings reflect an intrepid embrace of nature’s paradoxes. With skill and compassion, he transforms case histories of conditions among the rarest in medical literature into parables — miniatures stark and vivid with the tribulations and glories of the universal.
“His memoir, Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, brims with his particular genius for illuminating tangible connections between worlds more often considered opposed. Under Sacks’s keen eye, the technical and the personal, the scientific and the emotional, are laid bare, their fundamental natures in common revealed. Chemical elements take on rich hues of emotion and mood; the elemental natures of human subjects are established in brushstrokes no less sure.
“Sacks presses us to follow him into uncharted regions of human experience — and compels us to realize, once there, that we are confronting only ourselves. His rare wisdom and originality of vision attain the ideals of the Lewis Thomas Prize: Honoring the Scientist as Poet.”
Presented to Oliver Sacks
March 18, 2002
by Thomas P. Sakmar, Acting President, for the Trustees of The Rockefeller University