April 25-30, 2016 - Tucson, ARIZONA     

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort





April 29, 2016

2:00 pm to 4:10 pm

PL 9 - 'Pribram Session' – Brain Dynamics



Walter J. Freeman

University of California, Berkeley


I am fourth generation physician in my family. I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., studied physics and mathematics at M.I.T., electronics in the Navy in World War II, philosophy at the University of Chicago, medicine at Yale University, internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and neuropsychiatry at UCLA.  I have taught brain science in the University of California at Berkeley since 1959, where I am now Professor Emeritus.  I received my M.D. cum laude in 1954, the Bennett Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry in 1964, a Guggenheim in 1965, the MERIT Award from NIMH in 1990, and the Pioneer Award from the Neural Networks Council of the IEEE in 1992.  I was President of the International Neural Network Society in 1994, and am Life Fellow of the IEEE. I have authored over 500 articles and 5 bocks: "Mass Action in the Nervous System" 1975, "Societies of Brains" 1995, "Neurodynamics” 2000, "How Brains Make Up Their Minds 2001; and “Imaging Brain Function with EEG” (2013) with Rodrigo Quian Quiroga.


In my career I described neural population dynamics with solutions to ordinary differential equations with fixed time coefficients and variable gain coefficients to model state changes with learning. I showed that cortical “spontaneous” activity is generated by mutual excitation in excitatory populations that are stabilized by refractory periods, not inhibition, giving scale-free spectra. I introduced power spectra in log-log coordinates and named the upper reaches of EEG spectra as gamma (30-80 Hz) from negative feedback and epsilon (80-160 Hz) from positive feedback. I localized gain changes with learning to the synapses not between input axons and pyramidal cells but between pyramidal cells forming Hebbian assemblies for generalization and abstraction. I pioneered spatial spectral analysis of EEG and ECoG for the design of electrode arrays and discovered the code used by cortex to display memories in scale-free spatial patterns of amplitude modulation (AM) of carrier frequencies in beta and gamma wave packets formed and ended by phase transitions. I introduced the Hilbert transform and discovered the conic phase gradient of the beta-gamma carrier, providing a key to the quantum field properties of wave packets. I introduced intentionality and the action-perception cycle into studies if the neurodynamics and neural correlates of consciousness.


Walter J Freeman

Division of Neurobiology

Department of Molecular & Cell Biology

University of California

Berkeley CA 94720-3206