What is the Golden Brain Award?

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First awarded in 1985 by the Minerva Foundation, which is based at Berkeley, California, the Golden Brain Award is a prestigious international award for contributions to the field of neuroscience.

Any findings that have an influence on vision and brain function, as a direct result of investigations and research, are eligible for the award. Studies into higher brain function are given preference, which includes rational insight, behaviour, attention, the cognitive visual system and decision making.

Other considerations and special attributes are also taken into account, such as future scientific findings the research may potentially have, and the lack of deserved recognition for the scientist (a common problem for young scientists trying to make a name for themselves) are also important to the selection board. Nominees names are formally put forward by previous winners of the award, and each year the engraved awards are presented at Berkeley by the Society of Neuroscience.

The trophy itself is made of bronze and coated in 23-carat gold plating. It is a life-size model of a human brain and is fixed to a metal plinth by a stem resembling a spinal cord. Standing around 10 inches high, the trophy was designed by the head of the Metal Arts Program, Florence Resnikoff from the California College of Arts and Crafts. It is presented in a maple and mahogany box, handcrafted by furniture maker Lawrence Gandsey. The winner’s name is engraved on a brass circle, which is then mounted on the award.

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