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Distance couldn't spoil my friendship with F Robert Rodman


Meeting F Robert Rodman at UCLA
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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Perhaps not having a family of my own, friends and contemporaries and colleagues are... are more important, and people who are voyaging through life at the same time and in... in a different yet parallel way. For me a very important such person was Bob Rodman. I... Bob and I met in ‘62 when I went to UCLA where I was doing a neurology residency. Bob was doing a psychiatry residency, but this involved spending three months in neurology. Curiously we met… the common interest, a common interest we shared, and the first one we discovered, was photography. I was very much into photography, especially having the facilities of a darkroom at my disposal, and... and Bob was an ardent photographer as well. He was also a... a pretty good drawer and painter, but photography drew us together. And then the discovery of intellectual... shared intellectual interests and the fact that we were both drawn to writing.

Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was born in England. Having obtained his medical degree at Oxford University, he moved to the USA. There he worked as a consultant neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital where in 1966, he encountered a group of survivors of the global sleepy sickness of 1916-1927. Sacks treated these patients with the then-experimental drug L-Dopa producing astounding results which he described in his book Awakenings. Further cases of neurological disorders were described by Sacks with exceptional sympathy in another major book entitled The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat which became an instant best seller on its publication in 1985. His other books drew on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice. Sacks's work was recognized by prestigious institutions which awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These included the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He was an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and held honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.

Listeners: Kate Edgar

Kate Edgar, previously Managing Editor at the Summit Books division of Simon and Schuster, began working with Oliver Sacks in 1983. She has served as editor and researcher on all of his books, and has been closely involved with various films and adaptations based on his work. As friend, assistant, and collaborator, she has accompanied Dr Sacks on many adventures around the world, clinical and otherwise.

Tags: UCLA, F Robert Rodman

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012