September 5, 2015 2:20 pm

More of a good thing! New content added to Neil Tyson’s Oliver Sacks interview

Photo by Bill Hayes of Oliver Sacks at work taken in February 2015, courtesy of

Oliver Sacks at work, February 2015. Photo by Bill Hayes, courtesy of

Oliver Sacks was a storyteller, and a scientist.

Through the stories he told, he expanded our understanding of what the human mind is capable of.

He is perhaps most famous for his book, Awakenings, which was also made into an Oscar-nominated movie with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, which chronicles Sacks’ successful effort to raise sleeping sickness victims from their decades-long sleep using the drug L-DOPA.

But in his other books, like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, or Musicophilia, Dr. Sacks explored the strange ways that human consciousness resolves against a landscape of damage, neuroses, and other unique situations.

Most recently, as Oliver Sacks was dying, he began telling stories in The New York Times about that experience, too, starting with My Own Life  and ending with Sabbath.

Unfortunately, even those stories had to end some time, and Oliver Sacks died on August 30, 2015.

We originally aired Are You Out of Your Mind? back in March of 2011, in Season 2. In that episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed his friend Oliver in Dr. Sacks’ home in Greenwhich Village in NYC. The episode also included guest science educator and blogger Cara Santa Maria and co-host Chuck Nice.

Upon Dr. Sack’s passing, our producers went back to the original interview to find more content that ended up on the cutting room floor.

What they found may be my favorite part of the whole episode that will air this Sunday.

In it, Neil and Oliver talk about evolution, religion and atheism, and they compare and contrast a sense of wonder and awe towards the natural world with a belief in the supernatural.

If you’ve never heard Are You Out of Your Mind? before, and you are at all the least bit curious about the strange ways the human mind works, even when it doesn’t, you are in for a special experience this Sunday. And if you have heard it before, I suggest you listen to our new, extended classic version of the episode, if nothing else but for the chance to hear just a little more of Oliver Sacks, one last time.

Join us for our Extended Classic: “Are You Out of Your Mind?” with Oliver Sacks, this Sunday, September 6 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and SoundCloud.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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