2007 John von Neumann LectureOctober 21, 2007
The ICIAM organizers made space in the Zurich program for a special SIAM event: Nancy Kopell's 2007 John von Neumann Lecture. Kopell, co-director of the Center for Biodynamics at Boston University, studies networks of neurons and brain rhythms. In her talk, "Rhythms of the Nervous System: How to Connect Biophysics with Behavior," she conveyed the excitement of working in a lab, and the role of mathematical modeling in explaining rhythms considered "astonishing even by researchers who had predicted them!"
In naming Kopell the 2007 von Neumann lecturer, SIAM honored her for "her work on coupled nonlinear oscillators and their application to chemically reactive media, smooth muscle, the spinal chord, and the human brain." The selection committee also recognized "her leadership role in the application of mathematics to biology. Her careful nurturing of students and postdocs is helping to create a truly interdisciplinary generation of scientists for whom the boundary between the mathematical and biological sciences will be an opportunity instead of a barrier."