Verriest Medal

The International Colour Vision Society (ICVS) is pleased to announce that the 2019 Verriest Medal will be awarded to Professor Michael Webster at its 25th Biennial Symposium, to be held in Riga, Latvia from July 5-9, 2019. The award was established in 1991 in memory of the founder of the Society, Dr. Guy Verriest, and honors outstanding contributions in the field of color vision.


Prof Michael Webster

Dept of Psychology

University of Nevada Reno, Nevada

Professor Webster’s interest in color vision is rooted in his undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego. He went on to a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and then was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. In 1994 he joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he rapidly rose to a Foundation Professorship in the Department of Psychology with affiliations to graduate programs in Cognitive & Brain Sciences and Integrative Neuroscience, which he helped found and co-directs. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America.


His research on color vison includes a steady stream of influential papers over the past 30 years. Two themes recur over the decades: adaptation and individual differences. His novel adaptation designs have advanced our understanding of the multiple pathways that mediate color perception, including color constancy and changes across the life span. The comprehensive breadth of his work on individual differences encompasses color matching, unique hues and color naming. Professor Webster is a beloved teacher and mentor.  He has made also exceptional contributions to his peers and the field by serving on NSF and NIH grant review panels, as an editor of Vision Research, as the color vision editor for the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, and as chair of the Color Technical Group of the Optical Society of America. He recently was elected to the board of directors of both the Vision Sciences Society and ICVS, reflecting the high regard of his colleagues.

Verriest-Medal Lecture - Adventures in blue and yellow

Date: 7th July (Sunday)


Conventional models of color vision assume that blue and yellow (along with red and green) are the fundamental building blocks of color appearance, yet how these hues are represented in the brain and whether and why they might be special are questions that remain shrouded in mystery. This talk will explore the visual encoding of blue and yellow, from the statistics of the environment to neural processing to perceptual experience. Blue and yellow are tied to salient features of the natural color world, and these features have likely shaped several important aspects of color vision. However, it remains less certain that these dimensions are encoded as primary or “unique” in the visual representation of color. There are also striking differences between blue and yellow percepts that may reflect high-level inferences about the world, and specifically about the colors of light and surfaces. Moreover, while the stimuli labeled as blue or yellow or other basic categories show a remarkable degree of constancy within the observer, they all vary independently of each other across observers. This pattern of variation again suggests that blue and yellow are not a primary or unitary dimension of color appearance, and instead suggest a representation in which different hues reflect qualitatively different categories rather than quantitative differences within an underlying low-dimensional “color space.”


Verriest Medalists

  • 2017 David H. Foster
  • 2015 John S. Werner
  • 2013 Françoise Viénot
  • 2011 Steven K. Shevell
  • 2009 Gerald H. Jacobs
  • 2007 Barry B. Lee
  • 2005 John Mollon
  • 2003 André Roth
  • 2001 Donald I. Macleod
  • 1999 John Krauskopf
  • 1997 Jack Moreland
  • 1995 Vivianne C. Smith and Joel Pokorny
  • 1993 Marrion Marré
  • 1991 Harry Sperling