Martin S. Banks
Martin S. Banks, PhD
Member, Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame
Martin S. Banks was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1948. His family moved to California in 1957. He was raised Mormon, but left the church at age 20 and never looked back. He received his Bachelor’s degree at Occidental College in 1970, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Physics. After spending a year in Germany teaching in their school system, he entered graduate school at UC San Diego where he received a Master’s degree in Psychology in 1973. Banks then moved to the graduate program at the University of Minnesota where he received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1976 (once he paid off his library fine). Hoping to never experience winter again, he moved to Texas where he was Assistant and Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin from 1976 to 1985. He moved to UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1985 where he has been Associate and Full Professor of Optometry and Vision Science until the present. He was Chairman of the Vision Science Program from 1995-2002, and in 2012. He has been an affiliate professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Bioengineering since 1986.
Banks worked initially on the development of human vision. Having grown weary of the difficulty of doing research on human infants, he turned to work on human adults. He has studied spatial vision, perception of self-motion, binocular vision, picture perception, visual displays, oculomotor behavior, and binocular vision. He has also investigated the manner in which information is combined across the senses. He has been very fortunate to be able to work in collaboration with a string of superb graduate students and post-docs.
Banks has received many awards for his basic and applied research. These include the Young Investigator Award from the National Research Council, McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association, Koffka Medal from Giessen University, Prentice Award from the American Academy of Optometry, Schade Prize from the Society for Information Display, and Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America. He has also been appointed Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Psychological Society, Holgate Fellow of Durham University, WICN Fellow of University of Wales, Honorary Professor of University of Wales, Fellow of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and Borish Scholar of Indiana University. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019.