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Vision and Mind: A Symposium in honour of Horace Barlow


December 16th 2022


Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Cambridge


You are invited to attend Vision and Mind: A Symposium in Honour of Horace Barlow, which will be held on Friday 16th December 2022 in the Physiology Lecture theatre, Department Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.

This is a great opportunity to join a cutting-edge symposium of contemporary scholars in perception and neuroscience.  It will look at current developments stemming from the continuing influence and impact of Horace Barlow’s work. Barlow was one of the great figures of modern neuroscience, best known for his pathbreaking contributions to visual neurophysiology, psychophysics and brain theory.  More than any of his contemporaries, Barlow’s work has a continuing influence on modern neuroscience.



Please join us! There will be talks from a great international roster of speakers, and discussions on perception, neurophysiology and theory. 

We especially welcome registrations from Early Career Researchers for whom there is a reduced registration of £25. Information on the programme and how to register is below.

Registration will include lunch and refreshments during the conference, and an evening reception in the Zoology Museum. A dinner, with family and friends, will be held in Trinity College on Saturday 17 December (at additional cost) from 18:45-21:30.

You are warmly invited to visit the Womens’ Art Collection at Murray Edwards College in the morning of Saturday 17 December (no fee) from 11:00-12:00. Horace and Ida Darwin lived where the College now stands. Please register here.

Miranda Barlow will invite you to the memorial for Horace in Trinity College Chapel in the afternoon of Saturday 17 December from 14:00-15:10, followed by tea.


Please note that photography and filming will take place at Vision & Mind. If you do not wish to be photographed, please contact a member of the organising team. 

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Programme at a Glance

Programme - December 16th 2022

08:00-08:55 Registration

08:55-09:00 Welcome from Tony Movshon, New York University


Session 1, Chaired by Zoe Kourtzi, University of Cambridge 

09:00-09:45 Markus Meister, California Institute of Technology

Opening keynote: Horace Barlow: A neuroscientist ahead of his time

09:45-10:15 Fred Rieke, University of California, Berkeley

Retinal noise and absolute threshold

10:15-10:45 Denis Pelli, New York University

How many V1 neurons contribute to a perceptual decision?


10:45-11:25 Coffee break, Experimental Laboratory 


Session 2, Chaired by Zoe Kourtzi 

11:25-11:55 Anya Hurlbert, Newcastle University

From Helmholtz to Barlow and beyond: Current concepts in colour perception

11:55-12:25 Concetta Morrone, University of Pisa

information, prediction and neuronal oscillations in perception

12:25-13:45 Lunch, Experimental Laboratory


Session 3, Chaired by Daniel Wolpert, Columbia University

13:45-14:15 Eero Simoncelli, New York University

Redundancy guides the transformation of sensory images

14:15-14:45 Adrienne Fairhall, University of Washington

Building in efficiency

14:45-15:15 Stephanie Palmer, The University of Chicago

Efficiency revisited, for behaviourally important signals

15:15-15:55 Coffee break, Experimental Laboratory


Session 4, Chaired by Daniel Wolpert 

15:55-16:25 Doris Tsao, University of California, Berkeley

Principles underlying the transformations of sensory messages: Possible insights from the macaque visual system

16:25-16:55 Mike Shadlen, Columbia University

Direct representation in the accomplished statistical decision-making organ

16:55-17:40 Bill Bialek, Princeton University

Closing keynote: Efficient representation, far from the source

17:30-17:40 Closing Remarks from Tony Movshon, New York University

Evening Reception

18:00-19:30 Reception at the Zoology Museum


Scientific organisers

Bill Bialek, Zoe Kourtzi, Tony Movshon, Daniel Wolpert


Register here


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Conference (Dec 16th)

Physiological Laboratory




Reception (Dec 16th)

Museum of Zoology




Conference dinner (Dec 17th)

Trinity College




Art exhibit (Dec 17th)

Murray Edwards College



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Registration fees include refreshments, lunch, an evening reception and admittance to all talks. Attendance at the dinner at Trinity College will incur an additional cost.

We take receipt of a completed registration form as acceptance of the terms and conditions as stipulated and subsequent payment must be made using the online payment system.

Delegate registration deadline: Monday 12 December 2022


All delegates 

  • We will be collecting your payment and registration details using the University's online payment system.
  • The online payment booking system accepts all major credit/debit cards.
  • Please note that cheques or cash will not be accepted on the day of the conference. 
  • See below for cancellation policy.


Register here


Registration costs

Undergraduates - £25

Postgraduate students (Masters or PhD) - £25.00

Research Assistants - £25.00

Postdoctoral Research Associates - £25.00

Faculty/PI and other - £75.00

Gala Conference dinner at Trinity College - £60



Cancellation Policy - Terms and Conditions

  • We hope that you will not have to cancel your registration, however, should this be necessary please see the terms below
  • We take receipt of a completed registration form as acceptance of the terms and conditions as stipulated.
  • Cancellation of your conference registration will only be possible before the following dates by sending an email to
  • Cancellation before 6th December 100% refund of registration fee
  • Cancellation after 6th December: no refund
  • Cambridge Neuroscience is not responsible for accommodation bookings for the conference. Any cancellation policy should be checked with the hotel when a reservation is made and claims should be made directly with the hotel.
  • Payment by delegates must be received in full prior to the conference. Access will not be permitted if full payment has not been received.
  • You may be asked for confirmation of your early career status to confirm your career level

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We are hugely grateful to all our funders and supporters.


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There are no options for exhibiting at this conference.

We look forward to seeing you

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Please contact if you have any queries regarding your registration.

About Cambridge

For everything you need to know about Cambridge including reserving accommodation for your stay in one of the Cambridge Colleges, please see the Meet Cambridge website.

Here you will find details about transport, parking, guided tours and a ‘What’s on’ guide to help you plan your time while in Cambridge.

Please see the official website for visiting Cambridge and the surrounding area for more details.

We're in an excellent, central location with great access, less than an hour from London and several international airports; Cambridge city is compact and easy to get around on foot with great connections to the wider region.

Accommodation in Cambridge

Staying in historic Cambridge college accommodation during the student vacations is a unique opportunity. With centrally-located bed and breakfast (B&B) rooms available per person, per night, it offers a cost-effective option for those looking for city centre accommodation. You could trace the footsteps of graduates such as Marr, Newton, Darwin, Wordsworth, John Cleese, and King Charles III. You will eat in the college hall, and could wander through the college's gardens and courts, learn about the college's history followed by a drink in the college bar.

In addition, there are several city centre hotels and guesthouses in Cambridge, which offer a wide range of accommodation with something to suit every taste and budget. Please visit the Visit Cambridge Accommodation website for details.







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