Using mathematical models to understand our brain

The conference will be opened by Professor Dr. Sabine Kunst, President of Humboldt-Universität, on Wednesday, September 21st, at 14:00 h, at the university’s lecture hall (“Audimax,” Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin). At 15:00 h, the Valentino Braitenberg Award for Computational Neuroscience 2016 will be presented to Professor Dr. David Willshaw from the University of Edinburgh. The brain researcher uses mathematical analyses, computer simulations and other methods of computational neurobiology to understand the development and functioning of the brain. During the Valentino Braitenberg Lecture, Willshaw will showcase milestones of his research. With the award, the Bernstein Association e.V. 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 pin badge („golden neuron“).

On Wednesday evening, September 21st, 2016, the public will have the chance get entertaining insights into current brain research by means of a hands-on science lab and an evening lecture. Starting at 18:00 h, interested visitors can learn more about the structure and function of our brain at three “laboratory stations”. They have the opportunity to explore a three-dimensional neuronal forest with VR glasses or assume the role of nerve cells in a computer game in order to solve problems that are only apparently simple. They are also invited to modulate individual brain components from plasticine to get a real hands-on understanding of the brain. At 20:00 h Professor Dr. Daphne Bavelier from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and Rochester University (USA), explains what we can learn from video games. The lecture “Learning and Transfer: Lessons from Action Video Games” (in English) and the hands-on science lab will take place in the main building of Humboldt-Universität (Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin). No registration is required and admission is free.

About the Bernstein Conference

This year, the Bernstein Conference takes place for the 12th time. More than 500 scientists from the fields of physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, computer science, and psychology are expected to attend. During the scientific sessions and fourteen satellite workshops, about 95 internationally renowned scientists will give talks, and more than 210 scientists will present posters. The interdisciplinary research field of Computational Neuroscience uses mathematical models and computer simulations to examine the brain. Its topics range from information processing in the brain to perception, memory, brain-computer-interfaces, neural prostheses, and robots. The Bernstein Conference 2016 is organized by the Bernstein Center Berlin. It is the annual meeting of the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience, which was founded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2004. Since then, the BMBF has supported the research discipline of Computational Neuroscience with more than 180 million euros within this funding initiative. The network is named after the German researcher Julius Bernstein (1839-1917), who provided the first biophysical explanation for the propagation of nerve signals.

Media representatives are cordially invited to the award ceremony and all further events of the conference. For more information, please see:

All dates at a glance

– For journalists

Official opening:
Wednesday, Sept 21st, 14:00 h, main lecture hall, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Presentation of the Valentino Braitenberg Award:
Wednesday, Sept 21st, 15:00 h, main lecture hall, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

– For the interested public

Hands-on science lab:
Wednesday, Sept 21st, 18:00 h, main lecture hall, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Public evening lecture (in English)
„Learning and Transfer: Lessons from Action Video Games“ (Daphne Bavelier):
Wednesday, Sept 21st, 20:00 h, main lecture hall, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Dr. Mareike Kardinal
Bernstein Coordination Site (BCOS)
Branch office of the Forschungszentrum Jülich
at the University of Freiburg
Hansastraße 9a
79104 Freiburg
Tel: +49 (0)761 203 9593

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