Dr. John J. Hopfield

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    Princeton University, NJ, USA

    Curator and author

    Featured Author: John J. Hopfield

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    John Hopfield (b. July 15, 1933, Chicago, Illinois) received his BA from Swarthmore College, and a PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1958. He spent two years in the theory group at Bell Laboratories, and subsequently was a faculty member at Berkeley (physics), Princeton (physics), Caltech (Chemistry and Biology), and then again at Princeton where he was named the Howard A. Prior Professor of Molecular Biology.

    He was awarded the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 2002 for his interdisciplinary contributions to understanding biology as a physical process, including the proofreading process in biomolecular synthesis and a description of collective dynamics and computing with attractors in neural networks. He was also awarded the Oliver Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society for work on the interactions between light and solids. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the President of the American Physical Society in 2006.

    His most influential papers have been “The Contribution of Excitons to the Complex Dielectric Constant of Crystals” (1958), describing the polariton; “Electron transfer between biological molecules by thermally activated tunneling” (1974), describing the quantum mechanics of long-range electron transfers; “Kinetic Proofreading: a New Mechanism for Reducing Errors in Biosynthetic Processes Requiring High Specificity” (1974); “Neural networks and physical systems with emergent collective computational abilities” (1982) (known as the Hopfield Network) and, with D. W. Tank, “Neural computation of decisions in optimization problems” (1985). His current research and recent papers are chiefly focused on the ways in which action potential timing and synchrony can be used in neurobiological computation.

    Scholarpedia article:

    Hopfield J.J. (2007) Hopfield Network. Scholarpedia

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