Special Seminar with Gordon Shepherd and Robert Brayton: John Atanasoff and a Golden Age of Science at ISU

Date(s) - 25 Oct 2019
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

1302 Advanced Teaching and Research Building

Please join us for refreshments before the seminar in the atrium outside 1302 Advanced Teaching and Research Building.

Speakers: Gordon Shepherd, Yale University Professor Emeritus with the Department of Neuroscience and ISU alum; Robert Brayton, University of California at Berkeley Professor Emeritus with the Graduate School and ISU alum

Title: John Atanasoff and a Golden Age of Science at ISU

Abstract: Dr. Gordon Shepherd and Dr. Robert Brayton grew up in Ames during a time of amazing innovation, research and discovery at what was then known as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Their neighbors included four great scientists – John V. Atanasoff, Jay Lush, Henry Gilman and Frank Spedding – who formed the core of ISU’s “golden age” of science. In particular, Shepherd and Brayton will discuss how Atanasoff invented and pioneered the digital computer, and how von Neumann then developed his computing architecture based on his understanding of neuron organization. They will briefly summarize current models of computer and neuron organization, and make some predictions on where this technology is headed in the future.

Bios: Dr. Gordon Shepherd is professor emeritus of neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine. He introduced the olfactory system as a model for analyzing the properties of neurons and synapses in the brain and the formation of neural images of olfactory molecules. His research has contributed to properties of neuronal dendrites and spines, olfactory processing, and development of the new fields of computational neuroscience, brain microcircuits, neuroinformatics and neurogastronomy. Many books he has authored, including The Synaptic Organization of the Brain, Neurobiology and Foundations of the Neuron Doctrine, are considered seminal texts in the field of neuroscience. Shepherd received his bachelor of science in zoology from Iowa State University (ISU) in 1955 and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1959. In 1962, he received his Ph.D. in physiology from Oxford University. Dr. Robert Brayton is professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is internationally recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities and a pioneer in logic synthesis and formal verification. His seminal contributions to logic synthesis have been critical in the design of application-specific integrated circuits and the development of CAD products that use logic synthesis tools. His work resulted in design automation methods that enable the rapid circuit design for diverse applications in the consumer, defense and health-care fields. He received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from ISU in 1956 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961.

Hosts: Don Sakaguchi, Morrill Professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology; Ashfaq Khokhar, Chair in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

































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Interested in giving a seminar? Contact Professor Namrata Vaswani.

Announcements and publicity by Kristin Clague, and scheduling by the department secretary.