MIT model explains how the brain can learn novel tasks while still remembering what it has already learned.
The National Academy of Sciences will give former MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner its highest honor this year and will also present awards to three others from MIT, it announced today.
The award recipients from MIT are among 20 persons who will be honored for outstanding contributions to science at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on April 26 during the Academy's 130th annual meeting.
The other MIT award recipients are:
Dr. Peter S. Kim, associate professor of biology, assistant investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Dr. Steven Pinker, professor of psychology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and codirector of the Center for Cognitive Sciences.
Dr. Boris Magasanik, Jacques Monod Professor of Microbiology, Emeritus, and senior lecturer in the Department of Biology.
The foremost National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal goes to Dr. Wiesner, emeritus President and Institute Professor and former presidential science adviser, "for his devoted and successful efforts in science policy, education, and nuclear disarmament and world peace." The award, which consists of a bronze medal, was established in 1914 to honor "distinguished contribution in the application of science to the public welfare." Previous recipients include Vannevar Bush, former MIT professor, vice president, dean of engineering and Corporation chairman.
Dr. Kim receives the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, consisting of a gold medal and $20,000, for recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist. He was honored "for his pathfinding research in structural biology that has elucidated both the pathway of protein folding and mechanisms of macromolecular recognition."
Dr. Kim is the third scientist from the current Department of Biology and Whitehead faculty to receive the award. The others were Dr. Gerald R. Fink, in 1981, and Dr. Robert A. Weinberg, in 1984.
Dr. Pinker receives the Troland Research Award, a prize of $35,000 for research in experimental psychology, with preference given to quantitative research. He was cited "for his significant contributions to the fields of visual perception and the acquisition and evolutionary basis of language."
Dr. Magasanik receives the Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology, a $5,000 prize for excellence in the field of microbiology, "for his contributions to our understanding of catabolite repression, amino acid metabolism, and regulation of nitrogen metabolism in bacteria.'
A version of this article appeared in the February 3, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 21).