American Philosophical Society
Member History

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2. Biological Sciences[X]
208. Plant Sciences[X]
1Name:  Dr. Semir Zeki
 Institution:  University College London
 Year Elected:  1998
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  208. Plant Sciences
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1940
Semir Zeki is professor of neurobiology at University College London. His main research interest is the organization of the primate visual brain. His early studies on the monkey showed that different visual cortical areas are specialized for different tasks of motion, color and form. This led to the influential theory of functional specialization, not localization, in cortical areas. He then used Land's retinex techniques to study the relation of visual cortical neurons to wavelength and color, which led to the idea that color vision is a construction of the brain, not the retina. Recently he has used imaging methods to show that the principle of cortical area specialization is true also in the human brain. Dr. Zeki published his first scientific paper in 1967 and since then has written over 150 papers and three books, including A Vision of the Brain (1993), Inner Vision: an exploration of art and the brain (1999) and La Quête de l'essentiel, which he co-authored with the late French painter Balthus. In 1994, he began to study the neural basis of creativity and the aesthetic appreciation of art. In 2001, he founded the Institute of Neuroesthetics, based mainly in Berkeley, California. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (London), a member of the Academia Europeae and of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. His awards include the Minerva Foundation Prize, the LVMH Science pour l'art Prize, the Rank Prize in opto-electronics, the Electronic Imaging Award, the Koetser Prize and the King Faisal International Prize in Biology.
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