Biophysicist scoops 2001 Dirac medal
Aug 8, 2001
John Hopfield of Princeton University has been awarded the 2001 Dirac medal by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. Hopfield wins the prize - which recognises significant contributions to theoretical physics and mathematics - for his use of physics-based computational techniques in a wide range of neurological and biological systems. He is currently head of the computational neurobiology and computing networks group at Princeton.
Hopfield's research into the behaviour of neurons in the brain - based on the time evolution of various mathematical algorithms - led to his recent discovery of a new principle of olfaction, the way in which the brain processes smells. The well-known Hopfield model of neural processing highlighted the differences between computation in a computer and in the brain, and his early research into light-emitting diodes earned him the Buckley Prize for condensed matter physics in 1969.
The Dirac medal is awarded every year on Paul Dirac's birthday - 8 August - and is accompanied by a cash prize of $US 5000.