Prof. David Milner elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society
(14 July 2011)
His major scientific contributions are in visual and behavioural neuroscience, and his research focuses on how the brain enables us to perceive and use what our eyes see. In 1995, in partnership with his long-term collaborator Professor Mel Goodale, Professor Milner published the influential book "The Visual Brain in Action" where they described a novel theory of vision.
Building on the dual-stream model of vision proposed by Ungerleider and Mishkin, Milner and Goodale advanced the hypothesis that the dorsal visual pathway, starting in early visual cortex and ending in the superior parietal lobe, is fundamental for the real-time control of our actions. The idea was new, as the dorsal visual pathway was then thought to be concerned with spatial perception. In Milner and Goodale's formulation, the ventral visual stream, starting in early visual cortex and ending in the temporal lobe, transforms visual information into durable perceptual representations, whereas the dorsal stream extracts the moment-to-moment visual information needed to calibrate our actions.
Trained as a neuropsychologist, David Milner is best known for his studies of the behaviour of neurological patients with selective brain lesions. In recent years, in collaboration with colleagues at Durham University, he has used functional brain imaging to confirm and further develop the dual-stream model. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed articles and books.
All of his colleagues at Durham congratulate him on his election.