John J. Hopfield

Physicist and Biologist Class of August 1983
location icon Location
Pasadena, California
age iconAge
50 at time of award
area of focus iconArea of Focus

About John's Work

John Hopfield is a physicist who studies the physical and mathematical aspects of biology and biological computation.

In an effort to understand how the neural circuits of the brain perform complex calculations, Hopfield examines the brain as a computing system based on neurobiological networks.  His research interests include the computations necessary for nerve cells to process sensory information and turn it into perceptions, such as odors or sounds.  He is also involved in the examination of the corollary problem of how to create computing circuits and devices that make decisions in a manner approximating neural systems.


Hopfield is the Howard A. Prior Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.  He served previously as the Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry and Biology at the California Institute of Technology, and was founder of its Program in Computation and Neural Systems.  He has also served as a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.  He has published numerous articles in such publications as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Science, and Nature.

Hopfield received an A.B. (1954) from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. (1958) from Cornell University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Published on August 1, 1983

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