Golden Brain Award

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Golden Brain Award
Awarded for Discoveries in vision and brain
Location Berkeley, California
Presented by Minerva Foundation
First awarded 1985
Website Homepage

The Golden Brain Award is an international science award in the field of neuroscience. It is given by the Berkeley-based Minerva Foundation every year since 1985. The foundation specifically aims at fundamental contributions to research in vision and the brain.[1] The award is given usually in Berkeley at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. The Golden Brain is a trophy of a gold-plated model of the human brain attached to a bronze base.


The Golden Brain Award is open to any person who has made innovative investigations and the resulting influence of those findings on the field of vision and the brain. Preference is given to studies involving higher brain function such as the aspects of behaviour, thought, attention, decision making and rational insight, and cognitive visual system. Special attributes are also considered such as a lack of deserved recognition, which is common in young scientists, and the potential for future important scientific revelations. Formal nominations are made by previous recipients, and final decision is made by the selection board.[2]


The Golden Brain is a model of human brain, and the name is given as it is coloured with gold. It was originally designed and crafted by Florence Resnikoff, professor of art and head of the Metal Arts Program of the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.[3] The brain is a pedestal of ten inches high, held by a spinal cord-like stem which is fixed to a metal base. It is primarily made of bronze which is coated with a 23-carat gold plating at Monsen Plating in Berkeley. The flat base painted by spraying it with an acidic mixture to give it the bluish-green patina. The brain and base were fastened together, and a polished brass circle engraved with the awardee's name is mounted on the trophy. The wooden box for the trophy is made by a furniture maker, Lawrence Gandsey of Oakland. The box is of eastern maple grown (Acer saccharum) in the Appalachians and is held together with splines of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) from Honduras, and is finished with a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.[4]


Source: Minerva Foundation

Year Recipient Institute Country
1985 Semir Zeki University College London United Kingdom
1986 Gian F. Poggio The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore United States
1987 David Sparks Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas US
1988 Denis Baylor Stanford University, Stanford US
1989 Jeremy Nathans The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore US
1990 John M. Allman California Institute of Technology, Pasadena US
1991 Robert H. Wurtz National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland US
1992 William T. Newsome Stanford University, Stanford US
1993 Rudiger von der Heydt Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore US
1994 Robert Desimone National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland US
1995 Antonio R. Damasio University of Iowa, Iowa City US
1996 Anne Treisman Princeton University, New Jersey US
1997 Claudio Galletti University of Bologna Italy
1998 Heinz Wassle Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt Germany
1999 Nikos Logothetis Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen Germany
2000 Frederick Miles National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland US
2001 David Perrett University of St. Andrews Scotland, UK
2002 Wolfram Schultz University of Cambridge UK
2003 Karl Friston University College London UK
2004 Atsushi Iriki Tokyo Medical and Dental University Japan
2005 Markus Meister Harvard University, Cambridge US
2006 Raymond Joseph Dolan University College, London UK
2007 Nancy Kanwisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge US
2008 Larry Young Emory University, Georgia US
2009 Karl Deisseroth Stanford University, Stanford US
2010 Daniel Wolpert University of Cambridge UK
2011 Leslie Ungerleider National Institute of Mental Health US
2012 Michael Shadlen Columbia University, New York City US
2013 Joseph Anthony Movshon New York University US
2014 Doris Tsao California Institute of Technology US
2015 Okihide Hikosaka National Eye Institute US
2016 Eero Simoncelli New York University, New York, New York US
2017 Ken Nakayama Harvard University US

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Golden Brain Award 2002". Cambridge Network. University of Cambridge. 2 December 2002. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Golden Brain Nomination Criteria". Minerva Foundation. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  3. ^ "1985: Zeki". Minerva Foundation. 10 June 1985. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  4. ^ "The Award Sculpture". Minerva Foundation. Retrieved 5 September 2013.