Theoretical Neuroscience Rising
1Department of Neuroscience and Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York,
NY 10032, USA
Theoretical neuroscience has experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years. In addition to bringing
new researchers into the field with backgrounds in physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering,
theoretical approaches have helped to introduce new ideas and shape directions of neuroscience research.
This review presents some of the developments that have occurred and the lessons they have taught us.
Twenty years ago, when Neuron got its start, theoretical neuro-
science was experiencing a start of its own. Of course, there were
important theoretical contributions to neuroscience long before
1988, most notably: the development of what we now call the
integrate-and-fire model by Lapicque in 1907; the modeling of
the action potential by Hodgkin and Huxley, a brilliant theoretical
offshoot of their experimental work; the development of dendritic