MacArthur Fellows Program

George Zweig

Physicist and Neurobiologist | Class of December 1981

Physicist and Neurobiologist
Los Alamos, New Mexico
44 at time of award
Published December 1, 1981

About George's Work

George Zweig is a physicist and neurobiologist who has worked in the field of elementary particle physics and is engaged in basic and applied research in signal and image processing.

He worked in theoretical and particle physics in the 1960s, making significant contributions to the discovery of quarks (1963).  Turning to neurobiology in the 1970s, Zweig’s research concerns what happens to sound when it enters the ear, and how the brain maps sound onto the spatial dimensions of the cerebral cortex.  His accomplishments include the discovery of the continuous wavelet transform (1975), a signal-processing mechanism originally called the cochlear transform, and the creation of an active model of cochlear mechanics (1987).


Zweig is founder and president of Signition Inc., a laboratory focused on applications of wavelets to characterization of speech, nonstationary spectral estimation, and the multi-resolution characterization of shapes.   Since 1985, he has been a fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and since 1999, a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.  He was a professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology (1964-1998) and a member of the Jason Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis (1965-72).

Zweig received a B.S. (1959) from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. (1963) from the California Institute of Technology.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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