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Understanding the brain—neuroscientists meet in Göttingen


Over 500 scientists are attracted to the University of Göttingen for the international Bernstein Conference 2014 – Presentation of the Bernstein Award 2014 and the Valentino Braitenberg Award 2014 – For the public: demonstrations of humanoid robot ARMAR III and lecture on the problem of human concsciousness

From September 3rd until 5th, 2014, the international Bernstein Conference 2014 will be held at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

More than 500 scientists from the fields of physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, computer science, and psychology are expected to talk about the latest findings in Computational Neuroscience. This interdisciplinary research area deals with the question of how our brain processes information and creates thoughts.

Highlights of the conference will be the presentation of the Bernstein Award for Computational Neuroscience 2014 and the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience 2014. The public has the opportunity to meet the humanoid robot ARMAR III during an entertaining evening lecture on September 4, 2014. There will be an extra afternoon presentation for children. Aside, the public is invited to attend an English pre-conference talk on human concsciousness.

The conference will be opened on Wednesday, September 3rd, at 13:30 h, at the main lecture hall of the University of Göttingen (Göttingen Platz der Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen). Larry Abbott and Nathaniel Sawtell, an experimental and a theoretical neuroscientist both working at Columbia University in New York, will report in a “duet lecture” about how they were able to gain new insights into information processing in the brain by combining their research methods.

A highlight of the conference is the presentation of the Bernstein Award for Computational Neuroscience 2014 on Wednesday, September 3rd, at 15:50 h. The award will be conferred by State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and is followed by the keynote address of the winner.

The award, which is endowed with € 1.25 million, is one of the most attractive prizes for young neuroscientists. The prize money is provided over a period of five years, and enables outstanding junior scientists to establish an independent research group at a German research institution. Media representatives will have the chance to meet the laureate during a press conference before the award ceremony, which will take place at 10:30 h in room 1.140 at Blauer Turm, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5.

Another highlight will be the presentation of the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience 2014 to Alexander Borst that will also take place on Wednesday, September 3rd, at 17:00 h. During the subsequent Valentino Braitenberg Lecture, Borst will present milestones of his research. With the award, the Bernstein Association honors biannually an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to our understanding of brain functions. The awardee will receive
€ 5,000 donated by the Autonome Provinz Bozen Südtirol, which will be presented together with a golden pin badge ("golden neuron").

The general public is offered a fascinating insight into current advances in Computational Neuroscience in several events. English speakers are invited to a scientific lecture on consciousness that will be held by philosopher Joseph Levine (University of Massachusetts, USA) and neuroscientist Giulio Tononi (University of Wisconsin, USA) on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014, at 19:00 h, prior to the conference opening.

On Thursday, September 4th, 2014, at 19:30 h, Tamin Asfour of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present the humanoid robot ARMAR III in a diverting lecture at Paulinerkirche (Papendiek 14, 37073 Göttingen). During the afternoon, there will be an easy-to-understand version of the event for children at 15:00 h at the same location.
No registration is required for the public events, and admission is free. However, the number of places will be limited.

During the scientific symposia of the Bernstein Conference and the twelve satellite workshops, over 115 internationally renowned scientists will give talks, and about 280 scientists will present poster contributions. The topics range from perception and memory to computer-brain interfaces, robots, and neural prostheses. The Bernstein Conference is organized by a team led by Florentin Woergoetter at the Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology Göttingen and the Bernstein Center Göttingen. It is the largest annual conference in the field in Europe, and establishes at the same time the annual meeting of the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With this funding initiative, the BMBF has supported the research discipline of Computational Neuroscience with over 180 million euros since 2004. The network is named after the German researcher Julius Bernstein, who provided the first biophysical explanation for the propagation of nerve signals.

Media representatives are cordially invited to the entire conference, the press conference and the awards ceremonies. More information can be obtained at the website and from the Bernstein Coordination Site in Freiburg (Mareike Kardinal: mareike.kardinal @, Tel: +49 (0) 761-203 9585).

All dates at a glance:

For the interested public

- Scientific lecture on consciousness (in English) “Mind the Gap“ (Joseph Levine and Giulio Tononi):
Tuesday, September 2nd, 19:00 h at the main lecture hall, HS 010 (EG)

- Public lecture (in German) “Humanoide Roboter: Von Assistenten im Haushalt zu personalisierten Roboteranzügen“ and presentation of humanoid robot ARMAR III (Tamim Asfour):
Thursday, September 4th, 19:30 h at Paulinerkirche

- Children´s lecture (in German) “Humanoide Roboter“ and presentation of humanoid robot ARMAR III (Tamim Asfour):
Thursday, September 4th, 15:00 h at Paulinerkirche

For journalists

- Press conference to the Bernstein Award:
Wednesday, September 3rd, 10:30 h at Blauer Turm, room 1.140 (first floor)

- Official opening & Bernstein Award Ceremony:
Wednesday, September 3rd, 15:30 h at the main lecture hall, HS 011

- Presentation of the Valentino Braitenberg Award:
Wednesday, September 3rd, 17:00 h at the main lecture hall, HS 011

Prof. Dr. Florentin Woergoetter
Bernstein Focus Computational Neuroscience Göttingen / Bernstein Center Göttingen
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1
37077 Göttingen
Tel: +49 (0)551 39 10760

Weitere Informationen: Research team Florentin Woergoetter Bernstein Conference Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology Göttingen Bernstein Center Göttingen National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience

Mareike Kardinal | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: BMBF Bernstein Education Neuroscience Neurotechnology

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