- Ph.D., Stanford University
- B.S., California Institute of Technology
Sam Wang is professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. His work focuses on the neurobiology of learning, at levels ranging from single synapses to the whole brain. His research places special emphasis on the cerebellum, a brain region generally associated with the coordination of muscle movements. He is particularly curious about the cerebellum’s role in cognition and social thought processes, and he is using neural imaging of this part of the brain to search for clues to the causes of autism, a major concern of his laboratory.
An alumnus of the California Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. with honor in physics, Wang went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1994. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and then Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. In the mid-1990s, he also worked on science and education policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He joined the Princeton University faculty in 2000.
The recipient of a 2004 National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, Wang has also been an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Investigator. Last year, he received a McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award.
Wang is also noted for developing statistical methods to analyze U.S. presidential election polls with unusually high accuracy. His research has been featured by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio.
His first book, Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys But Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life, published in 2008, was named Young Adult Science Book of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011, he published Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College, which is available in 15 international translations.