The first Golden Brain Award, honoring original discoveries in vision and brain research, was awarded to Semir Zeki, a professor of neurobiology at University College, London.
Zeki discovered the specialized functions of certain areas in the cerebral cortex, which are responsible for vision in the brain, according to Elwin Marg, who was the foundation's executive officer. These areas appear the same under the microscope but perform dramatically different tasks for seeing, such as analyzing movement and direction as well as stabilizing the perception of color.
Zeki graduated from University College in 1964 and earned his Ph.D. in anatomy there in 1967. He joined the College's teaching staff in 1969 and became professor in the Department of Anatomy and Embryology in 1981. From 1975 to 1980 Zeki was also Henry Head Research Fellow of the Royal Society, London.
His other honors include the Hocart Prize, in 1961, awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Institute for Neuroscience in New York City and a member of the Board of Advisers of the Beit Memorial Trust.