Shorts: Strangers in the Mirror June 16, 2010

from WNYC's Radiolab· ·

face blindness

Oliver Sacks, the famous neuroscientist and author, can’t recognize faces. Neither can Chuck Close, the great artist known for his enormous paintings of … that’s right, faces.

Oliver and Chuck–both born with the condition known as Face Blindness–have spent their lives decoding who is saying hello to them. You can sit down with either man, talk to him for an hour, and if he sees you again just fifteen minutes later, he will have no idea who you are. (Unless you …



face blindness

Oliver Sacks, the famous neuroscientist and author, can’t recognize faces. Neither can Chuck Close, the great artist known for his enormous paintings of … that’s right, faces.

Oliver and Chuck–both born with the condition known as Face Blindness–have spent their lives decoding who is saying hello to them. You can sit down with either man, talk to him for an hour, and if he sees you again just fifteen minutes later, he will have no idea who you are. (Unless you have a very squeaky voice or happen to be wearing the same odd purple hat.)

In this podcast, we listen in on a conversation Robert had with Chuck and Oliver at Hunter College in New York City as part of the World Science Festival. Chuck and Oliver tell Robert what it’s like to live with Face Blindness and describe two very different ways of coping with this condition, which may be more common than we think.

The World Science Festival is an annual festival in New York City that pays tribute to imagination, ingenuity, and inventiveness. It’s pretty much an all-star line up of fascinating talks and performances. This year’s festival just concluded, but you can still catch full broadcasts of the 2010 programs, follow their blog, and sign up for email updates HERE. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this particular morsel.

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Photo by: Jeremy Brooks/flickrCC