Fred Wolf receives the Mathematical Neuroscience Prize 2017
For the first time, a European researcher will be awarded the worldwide highest endowed prize for groundbreaking mathematical contributions to understanding the brain
The physicist Fred Wolf from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS), head of the Göttingen Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) and honorary professor at the University of Göttingen is awarded the Mathematical Neuroscience Prize. Wolf receives the $ 100,000 prize for his fundamental work on the mechanisms of vision in the brain. With this award, the prize committee honors "Fred Wolf's groundbreaking contributions to theoretical neuroscience, particularly the organization of the visual cortex and the dynamics of spiking neurons and neuronal circuits." Theo Geisel, scientific member of the Max Planck Society and founding director of the BCCN in Göttingen says: "Honoring Fred Wolf with this outstanding prize emphasizes the leading role of Göttingen’s theoretical neuroscience and gives a special boost to our future-oriented research area." The award ceremony will take place on March 7th in Tel Aviv within the framework of the BrainTech 2017 conference.
Understanding the brain needs theoretical concepts
Understanding the brain still remains one of the biggest scientific challenges that Fred Wolf has embraced in his research. For the brain is probably nature’s most complex structure: billions of neurons, linked through trillions of connections, process enormous amounts of information within fractions of seconds by complex, spatio-temporal patterns of electrical activity. For understanding this complex biological system, mathematical analyzes and theories are indispensable. Dysfunctions of the brain cause severe physical and mental impairments, especially during aging, and belong to the most frequent medical disorders. The new, highly dynamic research discipline of Computational Neuroscience takes up these challenges. It combines biomedical experiments with theoretical investigations and therefore paves the way for scientific insights and technological applications. In Germany researchers from this area have joined in the nationwide Bernstein Network for Computational Neuroscience. The Bernstein initiative was launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2004 to support the research discipline of Computational Neuroscience. Meanwhile, the BMBF has funded the Bernstein network with a total volume of more than 180 million euros.
About the Award
The Mathematical Neuroscience Prize honors researchers who have significantly advanced our understanding of the neural mechanisms of perception, behavior and thought through the application of mathematical analysis and modeling. Theoretical methods and models are essential for the integration of genetic, molecular, anatomical, and physiological information, acquired over a large range of spatial and temporal scales, into a unified concept of brain function. The Mathematical Neuroscience Prize is awarded by the Israel Brain Technologies (IBT) every two years to two scientists. It is endowed with US $ 100,000 each.
About Fred Wolf
Fred Wolf studied physics and neuroscience at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. In 1999 he was awarded the first Altdorfer Leibniz Prize as well as the Amos de Shalit Fellowship of the Minerva Foundation and the Schlössman Fellowship of the Max Planck Society for his work on the basic principles of theoretical physics in neural systems. Wolf has worked at leading international centers of theoretical neuroscience and theoretical physics, including the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation, the Racah Institute of Physics, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California Santa Barbara. In 2001 he returned to Germany where he established a Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Human Frontiers Science Program. In 2008 he was appointed honorary professor of Physics at the University of Göttingen. Wolf is a regular participant in the highly selective programs of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he conducted the “Emerging Techniques in Neuroscience” as program director in 2010. He is a founding member of the Bernstein Center of Computational Neuroscience Göttingen and since 2013 the managing director.