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In Memoriam: Horace B. Barlow, 1921-2020

Jul 05, 2020

Horace B. Barlow, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Edgar D. Tillyer Award, passed away at the age of 98. Barlow was known for his contributions to the basic understanding of the physiology and psychophysics of vision. Barlow made a number of landmark discoveries over the course of his career, including important contributions in sensory physiology, computational aims of the visual system, and visual inhibition.

Barlow was the son of Sir Alan Barlow and Lady Nora Darwin, granddaughter of Charles Darwin, and was educated at Winchester College, England. He received a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from Trinity College, Cambridge University, in England.  Barlow went onto study medicine further at Harvard University and complete a doctor of medicine degree in 1946. He completed medical training at University College Hospital, London, before beginning research in neurophysiology at the Cambridge Physiology Laboratory. After various positions at Cambridge University, he became Professor of Physiological Optics and Physiology at UC Berkeley in 1964. In 1974, he returned to Trinity College and the Cambridge Physiology Department to take the Royal Society Research Chair of Physiology, where he remained active even after his retirement.

Barlow was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and OSA. His many awards include the Royal Academy’s Royal Medal, the Australia Prize, the Ferrier Medal, the Edgar D. Tillyer Award, and the Ken Nakayama Prize from the Vision Sciences Society.

OSA and the scientific community mourns the loss of Horace B. Barlow.

Awards & Distinctions

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