Werner E. Reichardt and Bela Julesz received the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics 1985. Both scientists performed pioneering research on the perception of depth and motion.
Julesz discovered that depth could be perceived by means of random patterns generated by a computer, which by its own don’t present anything identifiable. Does one look at the patterns by means of a stereoscope then all at once an object may dissolve from the background, creating a threedimensional effect. This offers e.g. possibilities for improving the research on eye-disturbances.
Reichardt studied by means of a common housefly the optical processing of motion and patterns. In the laboratory he constructed a kind of perfected home-trainer for the fly, by which he was able to take various measurements, and to formulate a general model for motion-perception. The research of both scientists affected decisively our conception on visual information-processing.
This was the first time that the award has been given to two scientists at the same time. Dr Julesz, of Hungarian origin, worked at the Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill, New Jersey, as a Head of the Department on Visual Perception Research. Professor Reichardt was Director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Biologische Kybernetik at Tübingen.
Professor Reichardt passed away in 1992. Dr Julesz died on 31 December 2003.