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Photo: Erik Dinnel/Allen Institute

Christof Koch


Christof Koch is a scholar and scientist best known for experiments and writings exploring the physical basis of consciousness in humans, animals, and machines.

After obtaining a MS and a PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Tübingen in Germany, he worked for four years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, before becoming a professor of biology and engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, directing a laboratory studying the physical basis of computation in the brain, visual perception, attention and consciousness (in a close, 14-year long, collaboration with Francis Crick). After more than a quarter of a century at Caltech, Dr. Koch became the Chief Scientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, leading a ten-year effort in neuroscience funded by the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen. In 2015, he became the president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, whose 300 scientists, engineers and staff catalogued the thousand or more distinct types of brain cells in mice and humans as well as built, operated and analyzed Brain Observatories to record the flickering activity of tens of thousands of neurons in behaving animals. Since 2021, Dr. Koch is the Chief Scientist of the MindScope Program at the Allen Institute as well as the Chief Scientist of the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation, in Santa Monica. Dr. Koch is the author of more than 350 publications, cited more than 140,000 times and has written five books. For more information, see

Books by Christof Koch

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