Vernon B. Mountcastle (1918–2015)

  • Marco CambiaghiEmail author
Pioneers in Neurology
Vernon Benjamin Mountcastle, once dubbed “the Jacques Cousteau of the [cerebral] cortex” [ 1], is widely considered the father of modern neuroscience, thanks to his outstanding achievements in the 1950s when he pioneered neurophysiological studies of the cortex. In his 1981 Nobel Lecture, David Hubel referred to Vernon Mountcastle as “[the person] whose discovery of columns in the somatosensory cortex was surely the single most important contribution to the understanding of cerebral cortex since Cajal” [ 2], honouring his fundamental legacy in the comprehension of perceptual complexity (Fig.  1).



Marco Cambiaghi was founded by the Alexander Bodini Research Fellowship in Developmental and Adolescent Psychiatry, from The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The corresponding authors state that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Nutt AE (2015) Vernon Mountcastle, neuroscientist dubbed ‘the Jacques Cousteau of the cortex,’ dies. The Washington Post. Accessed 7 Mar 2019
  2. 2.
    Hubel DH (1981) Evolution of ideas on the primary visual cortex, 1955–1978: a biased historical account. Accessed 7 Mar 2019
  3. 3.
    Mountcastle VB (2009) Autobiography. In: Squire LR (ed) History of neuroscience in autobiography, vol 6. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 344–380 (Society for Neuroscience)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Connor E (2015) Vernon Mountcastle: in memoriam. Neuron 85(5):899–900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Casanova MF, Opris I (2005) Recent advances on the modular organization of the cortex, Chap 2. Springer, Netherlands, pp 7–14Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mountcastle VB (1957) Modality and topographic properties of single neurons of cat’s somatic sensory cortex. J Neurophysiol 20(4):408–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mountcastle VB, Davies PW, Berman AL (1957) Response properties of neurons of cat’s somatic sensory cortex to peripheral stimuli. J Neurophysiol 20(4):374–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Society for Neuroscience. Accessed 7 Mar 2019
  9. 9.
    Snyder HS (2015) Vernon B. Mountcastle 1918–2015. Nat Neurosci 18(3):218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in AmericaColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Integrative NeuroscienceNew York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations