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ICTP Prize 2017 Announced

Award goes to Argentinian neuroscientist

Emilio Kropff, recipient of the 2017 ICTP Prize
Emilio Kropff, recipient of the 2017 ICTP Prize

18/10/2017 - Trieste, Italy

ICTP has awarded its 2017 ICTP Prize to Emilio Kropff, a neuroscientist from Argentina affiliated with that country’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council’s (CONICET) Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas de Buenos Aires (IIBBA), Leloir Institute.

The ICTP Prize recognizes Kropff’s outstanding contributions to neuroscience. His works address several aspects of memory and spatial cognition, combining both experimental and theoretical approaches. His theoretical work shows how the hexagonal geometry of spatial maps encoded in grid cells—the positioning system of the brain—can emerge from self-organization in networks of neurons. He participated in the experimental discovery of entorhinal border cells. Most importantly, Kropff discovered speed cells in the entorhinal cortex, neurons that encode a high-precision measurement of speed. Their discovery was crucial, as it provided the missing link in our understanding of how path integration, a mechanism contributing to spatial orientation based on self-motion rather than sensory cues, is implemented in the brains of rats.

ICTP published an article about Kropff’s work in 2015. He is an ICTP Associate working with the Centre’s Quantitative Life Sciences section.

The ICTP Prize will be given to Kropff at a ceremony to be held at ICTP in June 2018.

The ICTP Prize was created in 1982. It recognizes young scientists (under 40) from developing countries who work and live in those countries and who have made outstanding and original contributions to physics. The prize includes a sculpture, certificate and a cash award. For further details, see the ICTP Prize webpage.

Each year, the ICTP Prize is given in honor of a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the field in which the prize is given. The 2017 ICTP Prize honors Daniel J. Amit, a theoretical physicist who pioneered statistical mechanics approaches to neural networks and was one of the founding fathers of modern theoretical and computational neuroscience.