Swartz Prize Endowed to Advance Theoretical and Computational Research
The Society for Neuroscience was awarded $750,000 by the Swartz Foundation in December 2012 to endow the prestigious Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, which includes a $25,000 award for the winner.
Nominations for the Swartz Prize are now being accepted and the deadline is June 19. The next recipient will be announced in November at Neuroscience 2013 in San Diego.
“Many of the most pressing questions in science — such as how the brain processes information and behavior — require the application of new techniques developed through computational and theoretical neuroscience,” said Jerry Swartz, founder and chairman of The Swartz Foundation. “We are delighted to support a program that honors the leading computational neuroscience research, particularly in an age that promises so many new and exciting scientific discoveries and technological innovation.”
The Swartz Prize, initiated in 2008, honors career achievements in theoretical models and computational methods in neuroscience. These research areas have introduced new ideas and directions for brain research that have significantly enhanced and expanded knowledge about the brain and its functions.
“Only by understanding the principles of nervous system organization can the field advance to solve the problems of brain diseases and disorders,” said SfN President Larry Swanson. “This prize underscores the importance of theoretical and computational neuroscience to the neuroscience field as a whole.”
John J. Hopfield, Emeritus Howard Prior Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, received the award in New Orleans at Neuroscience 2012. Hopfield’s research – blending neurobiology, physics, and electrical engineering – showed how the collective computational power of brain networks could perform previously mysterious functions such as associative memory. This pioneering work became known as “The Hopfield Network” and serves as the key paradigm for modeling neural networks and understanding how they perform tasks.
The Swartz brain research prize was awarded to Haim Sompolinsky in 2011 for his work shaping system-level brain theory using principles and methods of statistical physics and dynamical systems. Other previous winners include Larry Abbott in in 2010 for his work bringing mainstream attention to computational neuroscience, Horace Barlow in 2009 for demonstrating that quantitative studies help to shape modern ideas regarding the interpretation of sensory representations within the brain, and Wilfrid Rall in 2008 for his trailblazing work in utilizing simulations to analyze and understand real nervous systems.
The Swartz Foundation, established in 1994, strives to explore the application of physics, mathematics, and computer engineering principles to neuroscience in order to enhance understanding of the relationships between the brain and mind. Through support of theoretical neuroscience research, the Foundation is helping move the field forward in understanding brain function, how the brain processes information, and nervous system organization.
Check the Awards & Funding area of SfN.org for more information about this and other Society for Neuroscience awards.