Strangers in the Mirror

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Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, a physician and author, has been called “the poet laureate of medicine" by The New York Times. His books and essays, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, are used in schools and universities around the world.

What’s it like to face a faceless world? Acclaimed neurologist Oliver Sacks once apologized for almost bumping into a large bearded man, only to realize he was speaking to a mirror. Sacks and photorealist painter Chuck Close—geniuses from opposite ends of the creative spectrum—share their experiences of living with a curious condition known as “face blindness,” or prosopagnosia. With RadioLab’s Robert Krulwich, they discuss the challenges of maintaining interpersonal relationships—when even family and close friends appear as strangers.