2024 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science – Randolph Blake

Monday, May 20, 2024, 12:30 – 2:00 pm, Talk Room 2

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Randolph Blake with the 2024 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science.

The Ken Nakayama Medal is in honor of Professor Ken Nakayama’s contributions to the Vision Sciences Society, as well as his innovations and excellence in the domain of vision sciences.

The winner of the Ken Nakayama Medal receives this honor for high-impact work that has made a lasting contribution in vision science in the broadest sense. The nature of this work can be fundamental, clinical or applied.

Randolph Blake

Randolph Blake

Centennial Professor of Psychology and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University

Randolph Blake has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science. This honor recognizes his diverse, original, and enduring contributions. Blake is well known for many insights into the mechanisms of binocular vision and of the perceptual ambiguity of binocular rivalry. Other research elucidated basic principles of motion perception ranging from biological motion and structure from motion to basic center-surround properties. He also led discoveries of visual form from temporal structure and of traveling waves in visual cortex. Blake’s impact extends further to principles of multisensory integration and insights into synesthesia. His rigorous psychoanatomy approaches were complemented by formal models, functional brain imaging, and investigation of individuals diagnosed with autism, Williams syndrome, and schizophrenia. Blake’s contributions to the vision science community have been amplified through the well-known Perception textbook with Robert Sekuler, through his pivotal role in establishing the Vision Science Society, and by his mentorship of generations of laboratory trainees and faculty colleagues in his department, university, and field who carry forward his discernment and integrity. Moreover, Blake’s exemplary and passionate approach to undergraduate education have been recognized by the most prominent teaching awards at Northwestern and at Vanderbilt.

Randolph Blake earned a bachelor’s degree in 1967 from the University of Texas in Arlington followed by a PhD in 1972 working with Robert Fox at Vanderbilt University. After two years of postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine, he joined the faculty of psychology at Northwestern University in 1974 and rose through the ranks. In 1988 he returned to Vanderbilt as Chair of the Department of Psychology to oversee a move into a new building and a reorganization of the department research priorities. Blake’s contributions have been recognized previously by an Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association and later by election to the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 2005, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006, and the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. He received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2006 for explaining why fingernails scraping on a chalkboard are unpleasant. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the Association for Psychological Science, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the Psychonomic Society. He was a foreign scholar in the World Class University Initiative sponsored by the National Research Foundation of Korea and is a member of the Alumni Association of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.