Prior to his academic career, Dr. Cerf worked as a hacker for nearly a decade, breaking into leading financial and government organizations to test their security. This career has led him to investigate the brain using non-traditional methods and tools and techniques that benefit from heavy computational skills. Accordingly, his academic research uses methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology.
Working with patients undergoing brain-surgery he studies behavior, emotion, decision making and dreams, by directly recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in their brain.
He holds multiple patents and his works have been published in widely-circulated academic journals such as Nature and Science, as well as Scientific American Mind, Time, Slate.com, and New Scientist and numerous media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, NPR, and MSNBC. He has been featured in venues such as the Venice Art Biennial and China’s AST, and has contributed to magazines including Wired, Forbes, and The Atlantic, Inc.
He is a multiple-times national story-telling champion, and his public talks at PopTech, DLD, Google Zeitgeist, TED, and others have received millions of views and a large following. Recently, he was named one of the 40 leading business professors below 40 to follow by “Poets and Quants”, and his talk on the use of neuroscience in business at DLD has been the most watched and discussed conversation on the topic.
He spoke at PopTech multiple times, and was a speaker in the fellow program and PopTech’s road-trip series. He is excited to participate in PopTech for its 20th anniversary. Most importantly, he is right-handed.