Berkeley is home to dozens of exciting research centers and institutes where cutting-edge research is being conducted and new initiatives are being launched every year.
For instance, the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics will continue to enhance our understanding of the origins and evolution of the universe and bridge new frontiers in cosmology. Top astrophysicists in the world now conduct research on the hottest topics in science today: dark energy and dark matter, the cosmic microwave background, structure formation, and extra dimensions.
"It's really an exciting time in cosmology because you can talk about these things and not have people laugh and say, 'That sounds like science fiction,’” says cosmologist George Smoot, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics. "With the level of detail in our observations, and the fact that we can do tremendous calculations on our computers, we're now in a position to probe for some of the answers."
Smoot, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley, led the team that obtained the first images of the infant universe. These findings confirmed the predictions of the Big Bang theory and won Smoot the Nobel Prize.
The center brings new prominence to Berkeley's longstanding strengths in cosmology and allied sciences, and attracts the most promising researchers of the next generation to the Berkeley campus.
Supporting the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Khyentse Foundation's $1 million gift paves the way for distinguished professorship in Tibetan Buddhism at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley has established a distinguished professorship in Tibetan Buddhism thanks to a $1 million endowment from Khyentse Foundation. The position is jointly held by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies. With the addition of this professorship, UC Berkeley will have one of the strongest faculties in Buddhist Studies outside of Asia.
"I feel with this one contribution we've started the equivalent of 100 monasteries," said Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, the founder of the Khyentse Foundation.
Famed Music Library Was Made Possible by a Private Gift
Jean Gray Hargrove, class of '35, was a music major at Berkeley when the music department had no permanent home. Now it has not only Hertz and Morrison Halls, but also the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. Mrs. Hargrove and her husband, G. Kenneth Hargrove, class of '32, made the cornerstone gift to provide state-of-the-art facilities for Berkeley’s music collection.
Known for its rare manuscripts and early instruments — including perhaps the oldest oboe in the world — the Hargrove Music Library is one of the most important in the country.
Supporting Our Students
Granting up to $25,000 per recipient, the annual Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize supports intellectual and creative pursuits that heighten awareness of issues of social consciousness and the public good. The prize celebrates the life achievements of Judith Lee Stronach who, as a patron of the arts and education, devoted enormous time and energy to numerous charitable organizations.
2017 prize-winners created projects ranging from a student immigration relief clinic to a theater program for the LGBTQ community in St. Petersburg, Russia.