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Douglas R. Hofstadter

Douglas Richard Hofstadter (born February 15, 1945) is an American professor of cognitive science whose research focuses on the sense of "I",[2][3] consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics. He is best known for his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, first published in 1979. It won both the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction[4][5] and a National Book Award (at that time called The American Book Award) for Science.[6][a] His 2007 book I Am a Strange Loop won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology.[7][8][9]

Early life and education

Hofstadter was born in New York City, the son of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Hofstadter. He grew up on the campus of Stanford University, where his father was a professor, and he attended the International School of Geneva in 1958–1959. He graduated with Distinction in Mathematics from Stanford University in 1965. He continued his education and received his Ph.D. in Physics[1][10] from the University of Oregon in 1975, where his study of the energy levels of Bloch electrons in a magnetic field led to his discovery of the fractal known as the Hofstadter butterfly.[10]

Academic career

Since 1988, Hofstadter has been the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Comparative Literature at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition which consists of himself and his graduate students, forming the "Fluid Analogies Research Group" (FARG).[11] He was initially appointed to the Indiana University's Computer Science Department faculty in 1977, and at that time he launched his research program in computer modeling of mental processes (which at that time he called "artificial intelligence research", a label that he has since dropped in favor of "cognitive science research"). In 1984, he moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was hired as a professor of psychology and was also appointed to the Walgreen Chair for the Study of Human Understanding. In 1988 he returned to Bloomington as "College of Arts and Sciences Professor" in both cognitive science and computer science, and also was appointed adjunct professor of history and philosophy of science, philosophy, comparative literature, and psychology, but he states that his involvement with most of these departments is nominal.[12][13][14] In April 2009 Hofstadter was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[15] and a member of the American Philosophical Society.[16] In 2010 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden.[17]