College Leadership


Carla Hesse, Executive Dean, College of Letters & Science; Dean, Social Sciences Division

Professor of History Carla Hesse is a prize-winning scholar with 20 years of experience teaching at Berkeley. Her focus has been modern European history, including its social and cultural aspects, with a specialty in modern European women’s history. She holds the Peder Sather Chair in the Department of History, and in 2007 won the prestigious Aby Warburg Prize.

Previously, Hesse taught at Rutgers University. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University and her B.A. from UC Santa Cruz.


Anthony J. Cascardi, Dean, Arts & Humanities Division

Anthony Cascardi

Anthony J. Cascardi is a professor of comparative literature, of rhetoric, and of Spanish. He is a former director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities and of the Arts Research Center at Berkeley. Cascardi’s research interests include aesthetic theory, the novel, early modern Europe, and the relations between literature and philosophy. His publications include two edited volumes, Art and Aesthetics After Adorno (U California P, 2010) and Poiesis and Modernity in the Old and New Worlds(Vanderbilt UP, 2012), the book Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics (U Toronto P, 2011), and The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy (Cambridge P, 2014).

Michael R. Botchan, Dean, Biological Sciences Division

Michael Botchan is Dean of Biology and a professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Botchan Lab at UC Berkeley studies the mechanisms and regulation of DNA replication and gene expression in eukaryotes, especially focused on how these processes couple to the cell cycle and progression from G1 to S phase in a developmental context.

Frances Hellman, Dean, Mathematical & Physical Sciences Division

Frances Hellman

Frances Hellman received her B.A. in physics from Dartmouth College in 1978, graduating summa cum laude and phi beta kappa with high honors in physics. She received her Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1985. After a two-year postdoc in thin film magnetism at AT&T Bell Labs, she went to UCSD as an assistant professor in 1987, where she received tenure in 1994 and became a full professor in 2000. She joined the Physics Department at UC Berkeley in January 2005, became chair of the department in 2007, and became dean of Mathematical & Physical Sciences in January 2015.

Bob Jacobsen, Dean, Undergraduate Studies

Bob Jacobsen

Bob Jacobsen obtained a B.S.E.E. from MIT in 1978. He spent 1976 through 1986 working in the computer and data communications industry for a small company that was successively bought out by larger and larger companies. He left in 1986 to return to graduate school in physics, obtaining his Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from Stanford in 1991. From 1991 through 1994, he was a scientific associate and scientific staff member at CERN, the European Laboratory for Nuclear Physics, in Geneva Switzerland. While there, he was a member of the ALEPH collaboration concentrating on B physics and on the energy calibration of the LEP collider. He joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1995.

Research Interests

Fundamental particle physics, particularly from the experimental perspective, is my primary research interest. Over the past 20 years the “Standard Model” of high energy physics has triumphed in precise tests of predictions of various quantities. The next step is to learn more about the unknown parameters, particularly in the neutrino sector, and to search for hints to the remaining phenomenological mysteries: Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

The LHC collider and experiments provides one powerful approach to these next steps.  But it’s also possible to make progress with smaller projects that address specific questions.  For example, a number of different techniques are being used, and new ones are being proposed, for experimental searches for dark matter.  My interest lies with using very quiet targets, for example heavily-shielded and high pure targets of liquid Xenon, and watching them with high-sensitivity phototube arrays to detect possible interactions with dark matter particles as they transit through the Earth. Much like the initial solar neutrino experiments of decades ago, this is an exercise in careful understanding of backgrounds and observation of very small, low-rate signals with high confidence levels.  Experimentally, it’s hard, but also a lot of fun.  From a physics perspective, confirmed observations of dark matter particles would open up an entirely new window on fundamental physics.

Current Projects

The LUX detector is located 4850 feet underground at the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota. In 2013 it published the best-yet limits on WIMP-type dark matter.  In 2014 and 2015 we’ll have a longer run to gather more data, along with new calibration methods to improve our ability to understand that data.  After that, the next step is a larger detector, called “LZ”.  This 6+ tonne liquid Xenon detector will replace LUX in the cavern, and provide a large improvement in sensitivity.  It’s being designed now (2014) and will be constructed at LBL and other sites over the next few years. We expect “first dark”, the initial operation, some time in 2018.

Amy Robinson, Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration


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