FACULTY AWARD: Hopfield honored for contributions to computational neuroscience

Oct. 16, 2012, 1:09 p.m.

John Hopfield, Princeton University's Howard A. Prior Professor in the Life Sciences and professor of molecular biology Emeritus, recently received the Society for Neuroscience's Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience. The $25,000 prize recognizes an individual who has produced a significant cumulative contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience. Hopfield was presented with the award Oct. 13 during the society's 2012 conference in New Orleans.

The society cited Hopfield's contributions to the field of computational neuroscience throughout his career. His research, combining neurobiology, physics and electrical engineering showed how the collective computational power of networks could perform previously mysterious functions, like associative memory. He also demonstrated how new functions could emerge in networks, including the "Hopfield network," which has served as a key paradigm for modeling neural networks and understanding human memory.

The prize is supported by the Swartz Foundation, which aims to better understand the relationship between the physical and cognitive brain using interdisciplinary techniques. The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.