Prestigious 2024 Brain Prize Awarded to Hebrew University’s Professor Haim Sompolinsky by Lundbeck Foundation

Prestigious 2024 Brain Prize Awarded to Hebrew University’s Professor Haim Sompolinsky by Lundbeck Foundation
5th March 2024 Moriah Aharon

Professor Haim Sompolinsky of the Hebrew University and Harvard University has been awarded the Brain Prize for 2024, the largest and most prestigious international prize in neuroscience.

Prof Haim Sompolinsky a physicist and neuroscience researcher at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Neuroscience (ELSC) at the Hebrew University and Professor at the Center for Brain Science (CBS) at Harvard University is the first Israeli scientist to receive this esteemed prize, which is awarded to pioneers in the field of neuroscience. He shares the prize totalling 1.3 million euros with Professor Larry Abbott at Columbia University (USA) and Professor Terrence Sejnowski at the Salk Institute (USA).

Prof Sompolinsky is renowned for his ground-breaking work in theoretical and computational neuroscience, particularly in the study of neural circuit dynamics in the brain. His research has significantly contributed to our understanding of how neural circuits process and encode information, map the external world, and participate in learning and memory. Through a combination of theoretical and computational approaches, his work has elucidated key computational principles underlying brain function.

The Brain Prize, initiated in 2011 and awarded annually by the Lundbeck Foundation, is considered the most prestigious award in neuroscience. It recognizes researchers whose work has advanced the field, from fundamental research to clinical applications. Prof Sompolinsky’s research not only deepens our knowledge of the brain’s inner workings but also holds promise for applications in brain-inspired artificial intelligence.

Prof Asher Cohen, President of the Hebrew University commented: “Prof Sompolinsky’s Brain Prize triumph is a testament to his pioneering contributions in computational neuroscience, unravelling neural circuit dynamics and laying the foundation for insights into information processing. His ground-breaking work inspires artificial intelligence, blending experimentation and theory to illuminate fundamental computational principles in brain function. This recognition not only honours his exceptional achievements but serves as a beacon guiding us toward further revelations at the intersection of neuroscience and computation.”

The 2024 Brain Prize will be presented to the three winners, including Prof Sompolinsky, in a ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark, in June. Brain Prize recipients have been presented with their award by His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince of Denmark (since January 2024, King) at a ceremony in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

Prof Haim Sompolinsky is the son of the late Prof David Sompolinsky, who was born in Denmark. Together with friends from the Danish Underground, he saved hundreds of Danish Jews from Nazi persecution in October 1943 by smuggling them by fishing boats to a safe haven in Sweden.

Picture: Prof Haim Sompolinsky | Credit: Kris Snibbe/Harvard File

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. With over 25,000 students from 90 countries, it is a hub for advancing scientific knowledge and holds a significant role in Israel’s civilian scientific research output, accounting for nearly 40% of it and has registered over 11,000 patents. The university’s faculty and alumni have earned eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal, underscoring their contributions to ground-breaking discoveries. In the global arena, the Hebrew University ranks 86th according to the Shanghai Ranking. To learn more about the university’s academic programs, research initiatives, and achievements, visit the official website at