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William Bialek Receives 2013 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Press Release:


SAN DIEGO — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has awarded the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience to William Bialek, PhD, of Princeton University. The $25,000 prize, supported by The Swartz Foundation, recognizes an individual who has produced a significant cumulative contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience. The award was presented during Neuroscience 2013, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

"Bialek's leadership in the field of theoretical and computational neuroscience is evident," said Larry Swanson, PhD, president of SfN. "Not only has he made an outstanding scientific contribution to our understanding of neural computation, but he has also demonstrated a strong commitment to training the next generation of scientists working in this area of research."

Much of Bialek’s decades-long career has focused on theoretical problems at the interface of physics and biology, including how well the various functions of living beings “work.” He is perhaps best known for his contributions to the study of neural coding and computation in the brain. Bialek’s studies showed that aspects of brain function can be described as using essentially optimal strategies for adapting to the complex dynamics of the world, making the most of available signals in the face of fundamental physical constraints and limitations. Bialek’s recent studies examine early events of embryonic development.

Bialek earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Groningen and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University, and also serves as Visiting Presidential Professor of Physics at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of nearly 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

Additional resources:

In Conversation with William Bialek

International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
Video, Part 1

Prof. William Bialek, renowned theoretical biophysicist and a professor at Princeton University and ICTP scientific council member was at ICTP to deliver the Salam Distinguished Lectures. We sat down with him to talk about physics, biology and how the the two fields meet.

Video, Part 2

Here, he talks about how biophysics can advance in the developing world and physicists' search for unifying theories in physics to explain diverse examples in biological systems.

Video, Part 3

Previous SfN Swartz Prize Awards:

2012: John Hopfield Receives 2012 SfN Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

2011: Haim Sompolinsky Receives Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

2010: Larry Abbott Receives Swartz Prize for Theoretical And Computational Neuroscience

2009: Horace Barlow Receives SfN Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

2008: Wilfrid Rall Receives $25,000 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

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