September 27, 2023
September 20, 2023
On September 19, the HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program awarded fellowships to 25 early-career scientists. Each fellow receives up to $1.5 million in support for up to eight years.
September 19, 2023
"I feel very honored to be in the role of ASUC president," said Sydney Roberts, a fourth-year student from Long Beach who is double-majoring in political science and African American studies. "My first goal ... is to increase students' sense of belonging, especially students who have historically felt excluded from higher education."
UC Berkeley Economics professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman have been named 2023 Citation Laureates, Clarivate and its Institute for Scientific Information announced on Tuesday. This distinction recognizes that both Saez and Zucman are among the world's top economists whose work is considered to be of Nobel-prize class.
September 18, 2023
In partnership with On the Same Page(link is external), the Division of Arts & Humanities sponsored a student essay and video contest.
The Breakthrough Foundation announced its 2024 Laureates on September 14, recognizing two Berkeley researchers affiliated with the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Hannah Larson and John Cardy.
Judy Juanita, Berkeley College Writing Programs lecturer, speaks about her award-winning book, The High Price of Freeways.
September 15, 2023
2023 Recipient: Xuebiao Yao, University of Science and Technology of China, Cell Dynamics
Summer camp is a rite of passage for many kids in the United States. Swimming. Arts and crafts. Long conversations in the bunkhouse. And maybe even some precious memories to carry with you for a lifetime.
For the campers and counselors at Camp Jened that experience meant even more. Jened was a sleepaway camp for people with disabilities that originally operated in upstate New York from 1951 to 1977. Amid the modest buildings and overgrown fields, the young people encountered something radical: a world that was built to include them, rather than ignore them.
UC Berkeley CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna is one of 60 Nobel Prize winners captured by renowned German photographer Herlinde Koelbl in striking black and white portraits that spotlight on the palms of the scientists' hands their discoveries and insights.
September 14, 2023
September 13, 2023
Gary Firestone, a professor of the Graduate School Division of Cell Biology, celebrated his retirement in July 2023. Dr. Firestone originally joined the Department of Physiology & Anatomy at UC Berkeley in 1983, later becoming a member of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) when the department was established in 1989. Dr.
“Eggtooth,” Jesse Nathan’s debut poetry collection, is alert to the wonderful and terrible things that happen beneath our feet.
In a poem titled “In a Churchyard After Dark, with Ruth,” friends “lounge in a burr oak’s buttress-root couch.” In “Between States,” the “grass sea” of the 19th century Midwest is stolen from Indigenous Americans. In “Boy With Thorns,” a locust tree’s spike — “evolved to ward off long gone / mammoths” — pierces “my plantar fascia’s rivers / of tissue.”
September 12, 2023
California voters are broadly opposed to paying the state’s Black residents to compensate for the longstanding harms of slavery, with opposition extending across party lines, according to a new poll released by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
September 11, 2023
Berkeley Social Sciences recently announced the appointments of 11 new department chairs and directors. They include:
It doesn’t take long for a conversation about artificial intelligence to take a dark turn.
An undergraduate-only literary journal, scholarships for sub-Saharan refugees, the debut of two undergraduate majors, centennials for California Memorial Stadium and the Department of Art Practice, a wider audience for Berkeley’s African language courses, and automated devices that dispense free games and mini manicures are among what’s new at UC Berkeley as fall semester 2023 gets underway.
The department of East Asian Languages and Cultures(link is external) (EALC) is excited to announce a new major in East Asian Humanities. "This major will open doors," says Chair Robert Ashmore.
On July 1, 2023, the Division of the Arts & Humanities welcomed 16 new faculty:
Marié Abe, Department of Music: Marié Abe joins the division as an associate professor in the Department of Music and focuses on the intersection between improvisation and composition.
There is a reason why UC Berkeley consistently ranks as one of the top universities for entrepreneurship. The 2023 Spark Award recipients are a prime example of the power of breakthrough research combined with an entrepreneurial campus ecosystem.
This year, the Spark Award call expanded to include UC San Francisco faculty who are collaborating with UC Berkeley faculty, springing forth a robust group of health tech innovators who are ready to take on today’s challenges.
September 8, 2023
The Henry Wheeler Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND) is co-hosting a dynamic art show featuring captivating portraits of 60 groundbreaking Nobel Prize winners and scientists, including UC Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna:
September 6, 2023
September 5, 2023
All incoming UC Berkeley students watched Crip Camp, a documentary about a summer camp in New York's Catskill Mountains, as part of the program On the Same Page.
It was summertime in the early 1970s in New York City. Fifteen-year-old Jim LeBrecht boarded a school bus headed for the Catskill Mountains, home to Camp Jened, a summer camp for people with disabilities. As the bus approached the camp, he peered out the window at the warm and raucous group below.
The biological sciences, encompassing fields from genetics and ecology to microbiology and bioinformatics, have long been the frontier of understanding life’s intricacies. What is now emerging as an equally crucial aspect is the emphasis on inclusivity within these scientific pursuits. By fostering diverse voices, perspectives, and talents, the biological sciences are not only enriching its intellectual landscape but also embracing the concept that innovation thrives in environments where everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
August 31, 2023
August 29, 2023
Launch a free online class about the science and history of hallucinogenics? Check.
Draw thousands of readers to The Microdose newsletter for the latest on psychedelics research, policy and culture? Check.
August 24, 2023
UC Berkeley researchers launched a pioneering interdisciplinary training program this week that will blend criminal justice and computer science in ways that experts say will help reduce long-standing, systemic inequities in the criminal legal system.
August 23, 2023
August 21, 2023
The Department of Art Practice within the Division of Arts & Humanities is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The department’s two-year MFA program, which supports on average a dozen graduate students, is also welcoming its 100th MFA class this fall with increased resources for students.
August 15, 2023
UC Berkeley History Professor Christine Philliou has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a 3-year research project to create a comprehensive, public-facing website to build new types of knowledge and raise public awareness about Istanbul and its constituent Orthodox Christian communities in the 19th and 20th centuries.
August 11, 2023
The largest storm in the solar system, a 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone called the Great Red Spot, has decorated Jupiter's surface for hundreds of years.
A new study now shows that Saturn — though much blander and less colorful than Jupiter — also has long-lasting megastorms with impacts deep in the atmosphere that persist for centuries.
Two groundbreaking research papers by UC Berkeley Anthropology Professor Andrew Wooyoung Kim reveal transformative insights into mental health, focusing on the intergenerational effects of mental well-being in Uganda and resilient coping mechanisms during the COVID-19 pandemic in metro Johannesburg, South Africa.
August 1, 2023
Sharon Mueller, a longtime director of advising, has been appointed the inaugural assistant dean of advising in the College of Letters & Science (L&S). Mueller begins her service on August 1, 2023.
July 27, 2023
With its sensitive infrared cameras and high-resolution spectrometer, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is revealing new secrets of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites, in particular Ganymede, the largest moon, and Io, the most volcanically active.
In two separate publications, astronomers who are part of JWST’s Early Release Science program report the first detection of hydrogen peroxide on Ganymede and sulfurous fumes on Io, both the result of Jupiter’s domineering influence.
Alison Gopnik, a University of California, Berkeley, psychology professor whose research has transformed our understanding of how children learn and what they can teach us about ourselves, is
July 20, 2023
Established in July 2013, the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) is a nerve center of state government, tasked with supporting all of California’s public agencies to streamline operations, promote efficiency, and foster collaboration across diverse departments.
July 19, 2023
The story behind the summer blockbuster movie Oppenheimer, which opens across the nation on Friday, July 21, began at the University of California, Berkeley.
A 25-year-old J. Robert Oppenheimer arrived at UC Berkeley in fall 1929 as an assistant professor, and over the next dozen years established one of the greatest schools of theoretical physics in the U.S. — one that continues to this day. He made UC Berkeley’s physics department the center of American thought about the new field of quantum mechanics and how to apply it to atoms, nuclei and even neutron stars.
July 17, 2023
Scientists have devised a new technique for finding and vetting possible radio signals from other civilizations in our galaxy — a major advance in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) that will significantly boost confidence in any future detection of alien life.
Groundbreaking research from UC Berkeley’s Department of Psychology is shifting the understanding of human decision-making processes by highlighting the importance of goal-oriented rewards. Conducted by Berkeley Psychology Professor Anne Collins and Berkeley Psychology doctoral student Gaia Molinaro, the study suggests that the value people attribute to outcomes is subjective, and heavily influenced by their personal goals and the context of the decision.
July 14, 2023
BERKELEY, Calif. — Jessi Fernandez joined a street gang at 13. By his 20s, he had been shot at more times than he could count. He got busted for methamphetamine possession and spent time in Los Angeles County jail for carrying a loaded gun. Yet the persistent danger didn’t wash away a street kid’s dream — that he would get rich as a drug kingpin, then turn legit.
Rhea Senthil Kumar did not have prior research experience at UC Berkeley before applying to the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, or URAP, during her freshman year. Though she did have a love for learning; she knew that the space sciences fascinated her.
Like Senthil Kumar, Karoline Almeida knew she wanted to pursue research. As a transfer student, she said she was introduced to URAP through her counselors whilst looking for opportunities to explore politics and law.
Researchers have known that a lack of quality sleep can increase a person’s risk of diabetes. What has remained a mystery, however, is why.
Now, new findings from a team of sleep scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are closer to an answer. The researchers have uncovered a potential mechanism in humans that explains how and why deep-sleep brain waves at night are able to regulate the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which in turn improves blood sugar control the next day.
July 13, 2023
In his new book In the Shadows of the Big House: Twenty-First-Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2023), UC Berkeley African American Studies Professor Stephen Small sheds light on over 60 heritage sites in Louisiana's former slave plantations. Amid debates about Confederate monument removal, Small's work focuses on the less obvious remnants of slavery throughout the region.
In support of queer doctoral economics students nationwide, Berkeley Social Sciences recently hosted the inaugural American Economic Association Queer Economics Ph.D. Student Mentoring Conference.
June 28, 2023
The universe is humming with gravitational radiation — a very low-frequency rumble that rhythmically stretches and compresses spacetime and the matter embedded in it.
June 27, 2023
Public education in the United States is profoundly unequal. Many public school systems are highly dependent on local revenues generated by local property taxes, meaning that areas with higher home values have better-funded schools. Wealthier people self-sort into areas with higher property values and better schools, while poorer communities have poorly funded schools. As a result, policymakers have asked: how can we solve the problem of inequality among school districts?
Sex work is considered one of the oldest professions in history. But in contemporary American culture, it is still a taboo topic. And due to the criminalization and stigma that surrounds the industry, the lives and stories of sex workers often get lost and devalued.
June 23, 2023
From the 20-foot-long jawbones of the filter-feeding blue whale to the short, but bone-crushing, jaws of the hyena and the delicate chin bones of a human, the pair of lower jawbones characteristic of mammals have evolved with amazing variation.
But at first glance, having a single bone on each side of the head — which creates a stiff lower jaw, or mandible — doesn’t appear to give mammals an advantage over other vertebrates, which have at least two and as many as 11 bones comprising each side of the lower jaw.
Knowledge may be power. But what if the information that leads to that knowledge is wrong?
To Celeste Kidd, assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, the answer is simple: It’s dangerous and perhaps the most concerning aspect of generative AI’s rapid expansion.
A strange and mysterious plant is on the rampage, causing people to break out in itchy purple blotches!
The premise of a new sci-fi movie or dystopian video game?
June 22, 2023
You may not realize it, but that backyard hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water is a natural experiment in fermentation — yeast settle in and turn some of the sugar into alcohol.
The same is true of nectar-filled flowers, which are an ideal gathering place for yeast — a type of fungus — and for bacteria that metabolize sugar and produce ethanol.
June 21, 2023
June 16, 2023
Cal classmates, faculty, family, and others share what makes John Mather Ph.D. ’74 — Physics Nobelist and senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center — so very special.
June 14, 2023
UC Berkeley’s Division of Biological Sciences hosted a series of immersive outings to expose alumni, supporters, and friends to some of Berkeley’s top researchers and most memorable research subjects, including rare wildlife, famous brain samples, fluorescent worms, and experimental produce.
Despite steady improvements in quantum computers, they’re still noisy and error prone, which leads to questionable or wrong answers. Scientists predict that they won’t truly outcompete today’s “classical” supercomputers for at least five or 10 years, until researchers can adequately correct the errors that bedevil entangled quantum bits, or qubits.
But a new study shows that, even lacking good error correction, there are ways to mitigate errors that could make quantum computers useful today.
June 13, 2023
Sandra Eder is a history professor at UC Berkeley. In 2022, she wrote How the Clinic Made Gender: The Medical History of a Transformative Idea, a book that explores the history of how the concept of gender emerged out of the medical sector and influenced society. Eder was interviewed during Pride Month 2023 as issues surrounding gender expression and identity were at the forefront of public discussion.
June 8, 2023
Elora Shehabuddin, Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and Global Studies, speaks on her award-winning book, Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism.
June 1, 2023
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ben Hermalin shared the following announcement on May 31, 2023:
After what will be eight years of service, including one year as interim dean, Michael Botchan will be stepping down as the Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences next summer on June 30, 2024.
May 31, 2023
Eva Nogales, a senior faculty scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab) Biosciences Area, has won the 2023 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for pioneering structural biology that enabled visualization, at the level of individua
May 30, 2023
May 25, 2023
Congratulations Class of 2023!
The campuswide spring ceremony took place on May 13, 2023, at the California Memorial Stadium. UC Berkeley alumnus and co-founder of Apple Inc. Steve Wozniak gave this year's keynote address.
May 23, 2023
If you look at enough dinosaur fossils, you’ll see that their skulls sport an amazing variety of bony ornaments, ranging from the horns of Triceratops and the mohawk-like crests of hadrosaurs to the bumps and knobs covering the head of Tyrannosaurus rex.
May 22, 2023
The year was 2020, just a few weeks before the presidential election, when Republican gubernatorial candidate Spencer Cox and Democratic opponent Chris Peterson teamed up to make an unconventional campaign ad.
May 17, 2023
Susan Marqusee, a biophysical chemist who headed the UC Berkeley arm of the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) for 10 years, until 2020, has been chosen to lead the Directorate for Biological Sciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF) — the major funder of basic life sciences research in the United States.
The UC Berkeley Class of 2023 may be known to history as the COVID class — the students’ first year on campus was cut short by the pandemic, and the virus roiled their lives, wave after wave.
But for University Medal winner Catherine Vera, and for finalists Aaron P. Hill, Rohith Sajith, Andrea Sandoval and Rosie Ward, the pandemic was just one challenge on an often profound voyage of discovery.
Benjamin Coleman has always loved being on a team.
The UC Berkeley senior, one of more than 10,000 graduating students walking in Saturday’s commencement ceremony, grew up in Calgary, Canada. At age 5, he joined his first hockey team, the Glenlake Hawks. He played with the same teammates until he graduated from high school. Although he played a lot of other sports growing up — badminton, soccer, skiing, swimming — hockey was his favorite.
Each year, nine seniors in the Department of Art Practice are selected to receive an honors studio for their final semester. Each student receives their own studio space with 24/7 access. The studio space allows students to work on longer-term projects and explore new mediums alongside their cohort. Arts & Humanities had the opportunity to interview three of the nine students in this year's honors studios as they completed their final projects for Professor Stephanie Syjuco's Art + Archive class. Jacob Li Rosenberg is a multi-media artist who is graduating this spring.
There are super-commuters who drive for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Living far from where they work or go to school, they plan their lives around rush hours and delays.
Then, there’s Hatcher Parnell.
Twice a week, Parnell rises before 5 a.m. in Whittier, about 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. He takes a quick shower, hops in his car and drives 35 minutes to the Long Beach airport. He breezes through TSA precheck and, with coveted “A group” boarding status, claims a seat near the front of the morning Southwest Airlines flight bound for Oakland.
When Jeff Nathan (BA 2013, MCB) received his undergraduate degree with a concentration in immunology and pathogenesis, he assumed he’d pursue a predictable path in research or medicine. A decade later, he’s carved out a very different kind of career for himself: as an acquisition professional for the U.S. Department of Defense.
In the afternoon sunshine at the storied Greek Theatre, more than 700 students from UC Berkeley’s Department of Economics gathered this week for their commencement. The momentous occasion marked not just the end of their academic journey, but also the beginning of their new roles in the academic, public and private sectors. Before receiving their degrees, they heard words of encouragement and inspiration from Federal Reserve Governor Lisa Cook, a distinguished Berkeley alumna who received her Ph.D. in economics.
May 16, 2023
With each passing year, more undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) are choosing to pursue professions in the biotech industry, and MCB’s research has increasingly found its way into clinical applications. In response to these trends, in July 2023 the department will launch a new division, Molecular Therapeutics (MTx), to better prepare students for careers in biotechnology and to support Berkeley’s science with the potential to develop new therapeutic modalities.
UC Berkeley is renowned for its vast array of engaging and diverse academic offerings, but for new students, the task of selecting the right courses can be overwhelming. With this in mind, L&S has designed an innovative new program launching in fall 2023: L&S First-Year Pathways. L&S Pathways will guide first-year undergraduate students in the College of Letters & Science through their breadth requirements while introducing aspects of community and thematic learning.
May 15, 2023
May 12, 2023
The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) has been selected to receive the2023 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.
May 11, 2023
UC Berkeley alumnus Jefferson Cowie, an American historian and scholar, was awarded the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in the history category on Monday, May 8, for his book Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power.
May 9, 2023
Hua Hsu, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1999, is a 2023 Pulitzer Prize winner in the category of memoir or autobiography for his book, Stay True, Columbia University announced Monday, May 8, on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Pr
May 4, 2023
Join us in congratulating Maurice Obstfeld who has been recently elected as this year's Distinguished Fellow by the American Economic Association.
As commencement season kicks off across the U.S., UC Berkeley’s Department of African American Studies is preparing to host the annual Black Graduation ceremony on May 20, 2023, at Zellerbach Hall. Black Grad, as it is affectionately called, honors and celebrates Black-, African-, and African American-identifying students upon completion of their undergraduate, master’s, Ph.D., J.D., and professional degree programs from departments all over campus. Black Grad is more than just a ceremony; it is a celebration of resilience, perseverance, and achievement.
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have uncovered a significant breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. According to their latest study, deep sleep can help protect against memory loss in older adults who are at a heightened risk of developing the disease. The researchers found that deep, non-REM slow-wave sleep can act as a "cognitive reserve factor" that may increase resilience against a protein called beta-amyloid, which is linked to memory loss caused by dementia.
This summer, the Ethnic Studies Department is partnering with the AC Center and the Berkeley History-Social Science Project to run a series of workshops for high school teachers preparing to offer Ethnic Studies classes. Called the High School Ethnic Studies Initiative, the series will be running from June 12 to 16 and will bring over 25 teachers to Berkeley, to support them in building from the wealth of insight and resources Berkeley Ethnic Studies has to offer.
Gabriel Zucman, a UC Berkeley economist, has won the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal for his influential research on tax avoidance and economic inequality. The medal is awarded annually by the American Economic Association to an economist under the age of 40, and several past winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in economics. Zucman’s innovative research and wide-ranging influence over the past decade were cited in the award, as was his “revolutionary” work on the drivers of wealth inequality and policies to reduce it.
At the annual Excellence in Management awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 2, the Berkeley Staff Assembly recognized outstanding university staff employees from across campus. The 2023 theme, "Everyday Heroes: Leading the Path to Excellence," paid homage to individuals whose leadership demonstrated and encouraged mentorship, dignity, respect, and belonging. Nominees were selected and evaluated based on three main criteria:
Five individual staff members from the College of Letters & Science were recipients of the Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Awards (COSA) this spring.
May 3, 2023
The College of Letters & Science is thrilled to congratulate the five L&S faculty members (Marla Feller, Tyrone Hayes, Hilary Hoynes, Donald Rio and Emmanuel Saez) and their campus colleagues recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
UC Berkeley's Division of Social Sciences recently held its annual celebration, Social Sciences Fest, which highlighted the faculty and staff's remarkable achievements over the past year. From winning various awards to receiving grants and launching new programs, the event showcased the division's continued commitment to producing research that matters and nurturing its students. In addition, two faculty members received the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the department managers were recognized with the Distinguished Service Award.
May 2, 2023
wo months before NASA unveiled the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope to the world last summer, some 50 astronomers and engineers anxiously gathered in the mission’s control room at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore for the moment of truth. Finally, after a 35-year-long, seemingly insurmountable journey through technological adversity, threatened cancellations, anda pandemic, the newly calibrated $10 billion observatory was about to reveal how well it worked—or didn’t.
April 26, 2023
Umair Khan’s mission in life, it seems, is to help budding entrepreneurs. “At Folio3 Software, I help entrepreneurs build out their products. At Mentors Fund, I invest in entrepreneurs. At Berkeley, I teach entrepreneurs. And at Zareen's, the restaurant which my wife established, I feed entrepreneurs.”
The jersey hijab Ro’aa Alkhawaja wore in high school drew ire and ill-informed questions from her classmates who sometimes assumed she was a refugee displaced from war, and the headscarf was an oppressive tool she was obligated to wear out of fear. That it somehow limited her physical and intellectual capabilities — her freedom.
But for Ro’aa, the hijab is an empowering symbol that signifies the love she has for her Muslim faith and the modesty and humility of character “I strive for inwardly.”
April 25, 2023
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “penguin” as “any of various erect short-legged flightless aquatic birds (family Spheniscidae) of the southern hemisphere.” That description seems simple enough, but definitions are not what people have in mind when they actually use words. Instead people think of concepts: the myriad properties, ideas, examples and associations that spring to mind when we think about a word.
April 21, 2023
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences announced its new fellows this week, among them six distinguished UC Berkeley faculty members.
April 20, 2023
This spring, the College of Letters & Science Advisory Board launched its first-ever L&S Faculty Awards to celebrate outstanding Letters & Science faculty. Awardees were selected for their exceptional scholarship, service to the College and community, and transformational teaching. These extraordinary individuals not only embody the excellence of the College of Letters & Science, but they also serve as an inspiration to the entire campus community.
April 19, 2023
A Berkeley View of Women’s History Month
This March, I’ve been thinking about the campus leaders and groups that champion women and their contributions to the Berkeley community.
Congratulations on winning a Brooke Owens Fellowship! How does it feel?
April 18, 2023
A new study by UC Berkeley researchers reveals alarming racial disparities in school discipline rates, with Black students facing a 50x higher risk of discipline than their white counterparts. The study highlights the "dynamic" nature of discipline throughout the school year, with rates decreasing before major vacations and increasing when classes resume. This real-time data is critical for educators to intervene before incidents occur and reduce escalating school tension.
After a fruitful career in academia teaching sociology and demography, Elwood “Woody” Carlson M.A. ’73, Ph.D. ’78 was putting his financial affairs in order. He wanted to direct some of his retirement funds to his graduate school, so he contacted UC Berkeley.
What he heard shocked him.
April 17, 2023
The Audacious Project, an initiative housed at TED, encourages the world’s greatest changemakers to dream bigger. A new initiative led by Jennifer Doudna and Jill Banfield at the Innovative Genomics Institute and announced today at the TED Conference in Vancouver is a big dream that uses the smallest tools: microbes.
April 13, 2023
Seen from Earth, the giant elliptical galaxy M87 is just a two-dimensional blob, though one that appears perfectly symmetrical and thus a favored target of amateur astronomers.
Yet, a new, highly detailed analysis of the motion of stars around its central supermassive black hole — the first black hole to be imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) in 2019 — reveals that it’s not as perfect as it looks.
Joel Wanek's short film, Passing Through, will have its World Premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival!
Joel Wanek is a film and audio artist working in the realms of creative non-fiction. Over the years, he has developed a practice that celebrates and investigates spatial poetics, racial dynamics, and the immaterial possibilities of sound and image.
April 12, 2023
A personal journey of macroeconomic curiosity has led UC Berkeley alum Sandile Hlatshwayo Ph.D. ’17 to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) as a senior economist. Hlatshwayo is covering the international portfolio during her year at CEA, which advises the president on trade, inflation, employment, supply chains, and other top economic issues. She is on a temporary leave from the International Monetary Fund, where she began working in 2017.
April 11, 2023
Latinx people, who today comprise roughly one in five U.S. residents, are forecast to soon account for three-quarters of net new workers and are increasingly pursuing higher education.
In Fall 2021, Bryce Wallace (’23, English & Linguistics) was still stunned that he had gotten into Cal as a transfer student from Irvine Valley College, when more UC-related honors started pouring in.
April 10, 2023
Valeria Luiselli, the Spring 2023 Bedri Distinguished Writer, will deliver a public lecture, “Migration Stories,” on Thursday, April 20th at 5 pm in the Maude Fife Room (315 Wheeler).
Baxter Liberty Initiative
Wednesday, April 12th | 4:00 - 6:00 P.M. | Sibley Auditorium University of California, Berkeley
The Baxter Liberty Initiative engages high-profile intellectual leaders whose expertise and scholarship focus on the ideal of freedom in political and economic life. Visiting scholars are invited to UC Berkeley for a multi-day visit of public lectures, dialogue with a respondent, and discussions with students centered on the theme of liberty.
April 7, 2023
Matt Jacobson’s loyalty to UC Berkeley began at a young age.
His father, Norman, was a beloved professor who taught political theory at Berkeley for 56 years. Professors and students would drop by their house constantly. Matt recalls his father practicing his lectures on the family at the dinner table. Though there were times when Matt did not appreciate the in-house lessons, he now feels fortunate to have received a college-level experience at that age.
April 6, 2023
Scott Straus, a UC Berkeley political scientist known for his study of political violence and genocide, has been named the Mahatma M.K. Gandhi Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS).
April 4, 2023
April 3, 2023
The Division of Arts and Humanities and the College of Letters & Science are delighted to announce that Les Gorske has accepted our offer to become the next Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration for the Division of Arts & Humanities (A&H). Les has been a crucial and valued member of the Dean’s office staff for the last four years.
April 1, 2023
The world has been learning an awful lot about artificial intelligence lately, thanks to the arrival of eerily human-like chatbots.
Less noticed, but just as important: Researchers are learning a great deal about us – with the help of AI.
March 30, 2023
A sci-fi fan since young adulthood, Rixin Li found himself among the many inspired to study planetary science when, in the early 2010s, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope began detecting thousands of exoplanets. A few years later, he would conduct sophisticated numerical modeling to explain how such planets could form, illuminating their leap from tiny dust and ice particles to planetesimals—or bodies of solid materials, such as asteroids. Using code he developed, Rixin has described how conditions of the protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star influence planetesimal demographics.
March 28, 2023
Last October, following one of the brightest flashes of gamma rays ever observed in the sky, telescopes around the world captured a wealth of data from an event that is thought to herald the collapse of a massive star and the birth of a black hole.
But that fire hose of data demonstrated clearly that our understanding of how stars collapse and generate enormous jets of outflowing material accompanied by powerful blasts of X-rays and gamma rays — and likely lots of heavy elements — is woefully inadequate.
March 27, 2023
UC Berkeley student Egbert Villegas was driving his girlfriend, Nelly Elahmadie, to a doctor’s appointment last November when the pair spied an SUV flipped over on the freeway in Oakland.
They were on their way from Walnut Creek to Berkeley; the accident came into view right before the Caldecott Tunnel.
March 23, 2023
Congratulations to Josh Kun, a UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Alum, who has recently been named USC Annenberg’s Vice Provost for the Arts! Josh Kun will partner with USC’s art schools and USC Museums to create universitywide programs, new initiatives, and fundraising to activate the arts across the university and Los Angeles arts community.
“The arts are a really valuable and urgent language for creating little cracks in those armors of division. Globally, we need what artists are bringing more than ever before.” - Josh Kun
Monday, April 3 | 4:00 - 6:00 P.M. PST | Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall
March 21, 2023
The Berkeley chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society has made its first round of invitations to Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 graduates to join the liberal arts and sciences honors society founded in 1776. Over 700 seniors, almost all from the College of Letters & Science, are receiving emails notifying them of selection and detailing how to join.
If you are a Berkeley student and receive an invitation, please be sure to consider joining.
March 20, 2023
The war in Ukraine has highlighted the danger that offshore finance poses to the rules-based global order. Western governments must seize this opportunity to combat tax avoidance and evasion while weakening the ability of autocratic regimes to foment global instability.
March 17, 2023
Is a dog more similar to a chicken or an eagle? Is a penguin noisy? Is a whale friendly?
Psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say these absurd-sounding questions might help us better understand what’s at the heart of some of society’s most vexing arguments.
Multiple Anthropology faculty members have recently published new titles! Celebrate their publications by checking out their phenomenal work below:
March 16, 2023
On 31 March 1817 the New York legislature decided that enslavement within its borders had to come to an end. Final emancipation would occur on 4 July 1827. Coincidentally, the date of choice was almost exactly two centuries after the Dutch West India Company’s yacht Bruynvisch arrived at Manhattan on 29 August 1627.
The essayist Eddy Harris will be visiting the Berkeley campus during the week of March 20, 2023. Harris’s visit is sponsored by the Robert Hass Chair in English with support from the Lawrence Hall of Science and the recently formed Environmental Arts and Humanities group, in conjunction with the YES/Nature to Neighborhoods social services organization in Richmond.
March 14, 2023
Restaurants, retail stores and other small businesses, long thought to be vulnerable to increases in the minimum wage, generally do not cut jobs and may actually benefit when governments raise minimum pay, according to a new study co-authored at UC Berkeley.
March 13, 2023
Congratulations to the YBCA 100 Honorees from Art Practice!
March 9, 2023
The Oberwolfach Foundation recently awarded, in cooperation with the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach, the John Todd Award 2022 to UC Berkeley assistant professor of mathematics Michael Lindsey for his outstanding contributions in the intersection of numerical analysis, applied analysis, statistical physics and quantum physics.
March 8, 2023
In one corner of the mazelike, climate-controlled room at the heart of UC Berkeley, a triceratops horn rests on a shelf a few inches above the floor. The massive skull of a baleen whale that lived some 15 million years ago is fixed to a wooden plank bolted to a nearby wall.
How did Living Pictures come to be?
This is a rather unusual story -- I got a letter from a person I didn't know, who suggested that I write a play. When I responded that I was a poet, not a playwright, the future stage director of this play said: but poetry has so much to do with theatre! At that time I worked with the diaries and letters of two amazing real-life characters, a curator and an artist who worked and lived in the Hermitage museum during the Siege of Leningrad.
March 3, 2023
Andrea Gomez, a 2021 Rose Hill Innovator, is probing how our brains learn and change over time by studying how the compounds found in psychedelic mushrooms influence brain activity.
The human brain has an immense power to change; over our lifetimes we grow and learn and shift our beliefs and preferences about the world. We recover from trauma and develop new skills. With each transformation, our brains forge new connections.
March 1, 2023
Janelle Scott, professor and the Birgeneau Distinguished Chair in Educational Disparities at the University of California, Berkeley, in the School of Education, has been voted president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Scott joins the AERA Council in 2023–2024 as president-elect. Her presidency begins at the conclusion of the association’s 2024 Annual Meeting.
February 28, 2023
Berkeley News recently interviewed Jovan Scott Lewis, a University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of geography and chair of the geography department, conducting a Q&A on his idea of reparations and its applicability in the current discussions held by California's Reparations Task Force.
Tune in to a new episode of Berkeley Talks Podcast, featuring leading economists Barry Eichengreen, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Gérard Roland, and Roger Myerson. They discussed what it'll take to rebuild Ukraine's infrastructure, education systems, and institutions one year after Russia invaded Ukraine.
February 27, 2023
Last December, Hannah Weisman became the first executive director hired by UC Berkeley for The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life(link is external), one of the preeminent Jewish collections in the world.
All are invited to attend the 39th Annual Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz Memorial Lectureship, featuring Dr. Kori Schake. Dr. Schake is Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and Former Director for Defense Strategy and Requirements on the National Security Council.
February 23, 2023
February 22, 2023
Four UC Berkeley faculty members have been awarded the 2023 Bakar Prize, which is designed to give a boost to innovators as they translate their discoveries into real-world solutions.
The prize is given annually to former Bakar Fellows and provides additional resources to ensure a successful transition of their technology from academic research to industry applications.
February 21, 2023
When Lenora Lee, an artistic director, dancer and choreographer, debuted Within These Walls in 2017, she had no idea what the impact would be on the audience.
Lenora Lee first debuted Within These Walls in 2017. Now, it’s the 2023 Berkeley Dance Project, presented in conjunction with a Year On Angel Island. (Photo by Hien Huynh)
February 17, 2023
UC Berkeley alumna and Trustee Maria Cranor (B.A. ʼ68) – who served four concurrent terms on the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2023 – died on January 15, 2023, at the age of 76.
February 16, 2023
Join us in congratulating Elora Shehabuddin for her amazing accomplishment! Her book, Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism was recently awarded the 2023 Coomaraswamy Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies.
February 15, 2023
Pulitzer-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen ’92, Ph.D. ’97 found at UC Berkeley the intellectual home, identity, and political passion that ultimately led to his creative success. He knows first hand the important part that grad students play in the academic ecosystem, and how hard they have to work to be here.
What does your program, unit, or division do on campus?
To provide compassionate support and guidance for students to proactively build upon their academic and personal background, empowering them as they navigate their UC Berkeley experience.
Describe your job in five words:
Love. Guidance. Advocacy. Support. Challenging.
UC Berkeley undergraduate Alp Eren Özdarendeli is unable to focus on his studies and stays awake all night hoping to reach friends and family in his hometown of Kahramanmaraş, a Turkish city close to the epicenters of last week’s devastating earthquakes.
As of Tuesday, nearly 38,000 people are reported dead across southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, and tens of thousands are injured following the temblors — one a magnitude 7.8, the other, which hit nine hours later, a 7.5. They’re now among this century’s deadliest disasters.
IGI Director of Microbiology Jill Banfield has been awarded the 2023 van Leeuwenhoek Medal for her contribution to the understanding of microbial communities and interactions between microbes and the environment.
Six young UC Berkeley faculty members—three L&S faculty members—have been selected to receive a 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship, the largest number of fellows this year from any one public university.
In all, 126 early-career researchers from 54 U.S. and Canadian institutions were selected, according to an announcement by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Individual Morality & Social Justice
Finding a home at UC Berkeley as an out-of-state student.
Two months ago, it started to rain as I walked back to my dorm from the Recreational Sports Facility. The raindrops were cold and heavy, and I stopped in place to watch them splatter against the sidewalk. Before I knew what was happening, I was crying my heart out through my eyelashes. Standing in the middle of Bancroft Way, I realized this was the first time in my life I’d gone more than a month without rain.
Research & Black Lives at Cal
February 13, 2023
A new UC Berkeley center will convene top scholars and students across a range of disciplines to conduct high-level research on critical social challenges at the intersection of politics and economics.
February 10, 2023
February 9, 2023
Economy and Society Initiative to Launch at UC Berkeley
A major grant from the Hewlett Foundation will support a new hub for research and teaching focused on the intersection of economics and government.
California's wetweather in the past few months has been nothing short of astonishing. So, what exactly has been going on with the weather lately? Check out this short video from Earth & Planetary Science Associate Professor Bill Boos as he explains the nature of the recent storms that have slammed into California.
February 7, 2023
BERKELEY BOOK CHAT: The Everyday Life of Memorials
In this session, Andrew Shaken (Architecture and American Studies) and David Henkin (@UCBHistory) will explore the relationship of memorials to the pulses of daily life, and their place within the development of modern cities.
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023
12:00 p.m. PST
Berkeley Psychology graduate students recently created the Research Experience Pathways (REP) in the Psychology program to provide greater opportunities for underrepresented students and to increase diversity and inclusion in research and academia.
Burnout is among the most significant on-the-job hazards facing workers today.
Christina Maslach, an American social psychologist and Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael P. Leiter, an organizational psychologist and Professor of Organisational Psychology at Deakin University, co-authored The Burnout Challenge. In their book, they've identified at least six areas in which a bad fit – or mismatch – between the job and the person can increase the risk of burnout.
Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa
Join us TOMORROW for "Caught Caring: (Un)freedom and the Costs of Service Labor in the University", a panel discussion about the costs that Black people face for caring in the university.
February 1, 2023
Maria Boone Cranor — luminary female rock climber, co-founder of Black Diamond Equipment, and lecturer in physics at The University of Utah — died of cancer on Jan. 15, 2022, at the Salt Lake City home of her great friends April and Dale Goddard. She was 76 years old.
Astrophysicists and space buffs worldwide erupted into cheers after the perfect launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on Christmas Day 2021. Days later, they held their collective breaths as sections of the telescope’s mirrors and sunscreen, folded inside like highly intricate origami, were deployed, concluding in full deployment on Jan. 8, 2022.
Meg Parker graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a double major in French and Rhetoric, then went on to earn her JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
January 24, 2023
In a study I conducted with collaborators Yang Bai and Maria Monroy (under review), we provided people with the definition of awe—“being in the presence of something vast and mysterious that transcends your current understanding of the world”—and then they wrote their own stories of awe.
January 19, 2023
The Arts Research Center–a think tank for the arts at UC Berkeley–is partnering with AlterTheater to present a rolling world premiere of an award-winning new comedy, Pueblo Revolt by Dillon Chitto. Pueblo Revolt will run from February 2-12, 2023 at the Arts Research Center (ARC) and February 13-26 at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael.
January 17, 2023
In Berkeley Talks episode 159, Adriana Green, a Ph.D. student in the Department of African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley, and Nadia Ellis, an associate professor in the Department of English, discuss Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House, winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The memoir, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East, tells a hundred years of Broom’s family and their relationship to home.
This I’m a Berkeleyan was written as a first-person narrative from an interview with Sierra Edd, a graduate student in the Department of Ethnic Studies whose research focuses on Native American studies and music, and sound in politics.
My current academic career started when I first listened to the Indigenous Futurisms Mixtape in 2014.
January 13, 2023
Less-educated U.S. workers often face a lifetime of financial challenges, but some among them are more disadvantaged than others: Young Asian and white men without college education are paid more — sometimes far more — than both Black men and women of all racial groups, according to a new study co-authored at UC Berkeley.
In Berkeley Talks episode 157, Hilary Hoynes, a UC Berkeley professor of economics and of public policy, and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, discusses the emerging research that examines how the social safety net in the United States — a collection of public programs that delivers aid to low-income populations — affects children’s life trajectories.
Compared to other countries in the world, she says, the U.S. spends less on anti-poverty programs and, consequently, has higher child poverty rates.
With the world’s population topping 8 billion last year, it’s clear that humans have achieved a unique status in Earth’s history. We are the only creature that dominate all other organisms on the planet, from animals and fungi to plants and microbes.
It remains to be seen whether humans can retain this dominance as we push the global climate to extremes while driving to extinction the very organisms that we climbed over to get to the top.
The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) announced today that UC Berkeley engineer and physicist Ramamoorthy Ramesh has been elected to the 2022 class of NAI Fellows, the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors.
January 11, 2023
January 3, 2023
Tara Madhav, a first-year Ph.D. student studying history, was recently awarded the Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for her essay, "We Had to Do the Educating Ourselves."
A surprising number of acclaimed women artists have come out of Berkeley, working in a wide array of mediums and styles and hailing from different backgrounds. Here are a few we’d like to draw your attention to because their work was/is startlingly original and their messages carry a lasting urgency. And of course, they have a good story to tell.
Note: These artists are also L&S alumnae who studied in the Division of Arts & Humanities.
December 21, 2022
Competition for top graduate students is fierce, and competitive financial fellowships make a crucial difference in convincing them to study at Berkeley. The Dr. Saul and Gordon Kit Fellowship will enable promising graduate students to pursue advanced education in animal virology, including virus pathogenesis and cellular antiviral defenses, virus-associated tumor biology/biochemistry, and viral vaccines.
December 19, 2022
Kim Cotton, 48, started earning her UC Berkeley degree in the early 1990s. She withdrew in 1995, a few credits short of graduation, resigning herself, she said, to “live my life as a perpetual senior at UC Berkeley.”
But Cotton didn’t want to stay a senior. She said that getting her degree was “unfinished business,” a task that was eating at her, demanding to be completed.
December 16, 2022
Dr. Urnov is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a gene editor at its Innovative Genomics Institute.
The parents of a 2-year-old girl write that their daughter “could die within the next year” because a genetic mutation is causing her heart to fail.
“Time is quickly running out for me,” writes a man in his mid-30s whose DNA harbors a genetic mistake certain to destroy his brain within a matter of years.
December 15, 2022
December 13, 2022
The UC Berkeley Council on Advising and Student Services and its awards planning committee recently announced the recipients of the 2022 Excellence in Advising and Student Services Awards.
December 7, 2022
John Kuriyan’s love of nature is self-evident after a glance at the vivid feathers displayed on his Flickr gallery. He has photographed dozens and dozens of different bird species, each with a unique set of characteristics that allow it to thrive in its natural habitat. This fascination with nature’s diversity led Kuriyan, professor of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, to both study proteins and realize how to share his love of science with students.
For such a complicated subject, the leaders of the Quantum Computing at Berkeley (QCB) club articulate a very straightforward mission: “Our goal is to promote quantum computing in a diverse population of students—different majors, different people—and also to educate the campus community about what quantum computing is and how it will affect the fu
December 6, 2022
Gazing at stars during nighttime parties, dinners with “family,” getting creative in a machine shop, and long philosophical discussions with peers might not seem like the expected stuff of an undergraduate education in science, but it is all part of a new plan for student-led discovery unfolding in the UC Berkeley Physics and Astronomy (PA) Departments, in the Division of Mathematical & Physical Sciences.
December 5, 2022
In the two years since nationwide social justice protests followed the murder of George Floyd, California has undertaken the nation’s most sweeping effort yet to explore some concrete restitution to Black citizens to address the enduring economic effects of slavery and racism.
December 2, 2022
In nature, CRISPR is an immune defense that bacteria and other microbes use to protect themselves against viruses by recognizing and cutting the genomes of invading viruses. In 2020, researchers at the Innovative Genomics Institute found a CRISPR-Cas system in what would seem to be an unlikely place: inside a virus.
November 29, 2022
Isha Ukani grew up in Simi Valley, California, a first-generation American in a family originally from Gujarat, India. Descended from a long line of farmers, her father taught her about the plant world as he worked in the family garden. By the time she got to high school, Ukani was passionate about science, particularly botany, which led to an interest in molecular biology and biotechnology. Now, that early exposure to nature is already shaping her career.
Think of a large-enrollment class and you might picture a cavernous lecture hall, full of students silently taking notes as the distant instructor imparts wisdom from the front of the room. Learners are expected to absorb knowledge passively; problem-solving and critical thinking are reserved for independent study, or for a few high-stakes exams. It’s not the most thrilling learning environment, nor – as extensive research has shown – is it a particularly effective way for students to learn.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shut down labs and sent scientists home to work, female astronomers on average published about nine papers for every 10 published by men — a rate that has remained stagnant for decades.
The pandemic appears to have worsened that gender imbalance.
Eniola Fakile’s creations live in another world.
Fakile is a photographer. A performance artist. A filmmaker. A sculptor. A costume designer. She works in textiles, ready-made objects and assemblage. She’s not constrained by what has been or should be. Instead, she expands outward to see how far she can go. When an idea flashes in her mind, she imagines a new universe in which that idea, that creation, lives.
Do you feel groggy until you’ve had your morning joe? Do you battle sleepiness throughout the workday?
You’re not alone. Many people struggle with morning alertness, but a new study demonstrates that awaking refreshed each day is not just something a lucky few are born with. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered that you can wake up each morning without feeling sluggish by paying attention to three key factors: sleep, exercise and breakfast.
“Okay, this is it,” Filipa Rijo-Ferreira thought after hearing some neuroscience presentations. She’d spent a year as a technician in a lab studying sleeping sickness but had never understood why no one studied the way in which the sickness affected the brain. But for this particular disease, it seemed important to study neuroscience and parasitology together. “I’m just going to make my own project.”
November 28, 2022
For postdoc Aaron Joiner, academia holds two attractions. One is the chance to explore and discover fundamental biology. The other is the ability to broaden opportunities for future generations of scientists, including those who may not have grown up seeing themselves as researchers.
November 23, 2022
A sterling silver mezuzah from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life now hangs at the official Washington, DC residence of Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.
In what Magnes curator Francesco Spagnolo called a “curatorial mission impossible,” the ritual object needed to be anchored in the history of the Jewish American community, have relevance to the second couple, and be suitable for display in the official residence.
November 21, 2022
Celebrate Berkeley’s involvement with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This panel discussion features the JWST Senior Project Scientist, and Berkeley alum, John Mather and two faculty members utilizing the telescope in their research. The talk is moderated by Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Steven Kahn.
Speakers: Steven Kahn Ph.D. ’80, Dean, Mathematical and Physical Sciences (moderator) | 5:34
November 17, 2022
When Ashley Miller (’15, Interdisciplinary Studies) transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior in Fall 2012, she had two goals in mind: to study abroad (despite the tight timeline) and to go somewhere entirely different than anywhere she had been before. She chose Kenya. With funding from UC Berkeley’s Miller Scholars program, she planned to research the effects of Kenya’s 2003 free primary education policy. Unfortunately, a national teachers’ strike in 2013 made interviewing teachers and families difficult.
November 16, 2022
When I tell people I’m studying a subject within the humanities, they usually jump to an eyebrow raise coupled with some iteration of the following:
What are you going to use that degree for? How are you going to make any money? Wow, I wish I had an easy major too…
By now, I’ve grown accustomed to the rude comments, the derisive laughter. But the question that never fails to amuse me is this:
What will your parents think?
UC Berkeley’s Department of Anthropology announced the inaugural recipient of the Sam Dubal Fellowship in Critical Cultural and Medical Anthropology, Carolina Talavera. The fellowship, established in 2021, honors the enduring vision and memory of Dr. Sam Dubal ’15.
November 10, 2022
On Nov. 20, 1969, a group of Indigenous Americans that called itself Indians of All Tribes, many of whom were UC Berkeley students, took boats in the early morning hours to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. They bypassed a Coast Guard blockade and took control of the island. The 19-month occupation that followed would be regarded as one of the greatest acts of political resistance in American Indian history.
When UC Berkeley’s African American Studies professors Leigh Raiford and Tianna Paschel launched the Black Studies Collaboratory (BSC) in 2021, their vision centered on creating a space for critical, joyful and generative engagement that would expand beyond the institution and into the surrounding community.
Arlie Russell Hochschild, an esteemed UC Berkeley sociologist and professor emerita of sociology, has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Hochschild was recognized for “pioneering new understanding of the emotions that underlie people’s beliefs, actions and social lives.”
November 8, 2022
Draft up a list of today’s most inventive and respected players in the realm of what tends to be called improvised music (or creative music or free jazz) and you’ll inevitably name the players in the pianist Myra Melford’s Fire and Water Quintet: the saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, the guitarist Mary Halvorson, the cellist
November 7, 2022
Great entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, but some universities have a truly exceptional track record of producing future entrepreneurs.
PitchBook's annual university rankings compare schools by tallying up the number of alumni entrepreneurs who have founded venture capital-backed companies. The undergraduate and graduate rankings are powered by PitchBook data and are based on an analysis of more than 144,000 VC-backed founders.
Xanthia Lam, a senior student in the cognitive science program at UC Berkeley, was unsure of how she would afford some basic supplies for the coming semester. The Oakland-born daughter of two immigrant parents who have experienced homelessness, Lam had been thankful to receive some financial support throughout her undergraduate education, but even that support did not completely cover costs of living in the Bay Area.
Around 1870 came a great shift: invention sprinted forward, doubling our technological capabilities each generation, utterly transforming the economy again and again. The possibility of being able in the not-too-distant future of baking a sufficiently large economic pie for everyone to someday have enough came into view. Surely then we would be able to shift governance and politics so that we could collectively build a utopia? Surely it was the baking of the sufficiently large economic pie that was the large problem.
Greg Dunn is an artist with a PhD in Neuroscience, whose work highlights the beauty and complexity of the nervous system.
“One can usually pretend that there is a logic to the distribution of wealth — that behind a person’s prosperity lies some rational basis, whether it is that person’s hard work, skill and farsightedness or some ancestor’s,” writes J. Bradford DeLong. “Inflation — even moderate inflation — strips the mask.”
The Asian American Research Center (AARC) and the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program (AAADS) at the University of California, Berkeley, will be hosting the 30th anniversary international conference of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO 世界海外华人研究学会) from Nov. 11-12, 2022, at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco.
November 4, 2022
As its name implies, the Devil’s Hole pupfish lives in a truly hellish environment.
Confined to a single deep limestone cave in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, 263 of them live in water that hovers around 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, with food resources so scarce that they are always on the edge of starvation, and with oxygen levels so low that most other fish would die immediately. The pupfish, Cyprinodon diabolis, live in the smallest habitat of any known vertebrate.
November 3, 2022
This year, the Peder Sather Center for Advanced Study celebrates 10 years of international research and educational collaboration between UC Berkeley and Norway. On October 26, guests from around the world came together in the Banatao Auditorium at UC Berkeley to honor the many achievements in research stemming from the longstanding partnership. Guest speakers included Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Ambassador to the United States Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and UC Berkeley’s Chancellor, Carol Christ.
November 1, 2022
UC Berkeley professors of physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering and computer sciences highlight the rich ecosystem of basic research, education, and entrepreneurship that makes the university a leader in quantum science and technology and its application for quantum computers and other innovations.
Matthew Rowe wasn’t considering a degree in the humanities when he joined UC Berkeley in fall 2022. Instead, he chose to major in political science, with the goal of preparing for a career addressing the global problem of climate change.
But Rowe has now switched his major to philosophy, in the campus’s Division of Arts and Humanities, realizing, he said, that to approach such a multi-faceted issue would require “going beyond politics and legislation in order to address the apathy people experience when discussing climate change.”
I was raised in Watsonville, California. It’s a small city on the central coast near Santa Cruz that has a big agricultural industry: Driscoll’s, Martinelli’s: Every berry you could think of are picked from those fields.
My dad is from the Philippines, but as a military brat, he left around the age of 11 to live in America. After his father, my grandfather, retired from the U.S. Army, my dad and his four siblings worked in the strawberry and raspberry fields, and apple orchards of Watsonville.
The inaugural cohort of undergraduate interns in the CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program gained real-world experience in areas of tech innovation central to California’s future, while their hosts benefited from sharp minds and fresh perspectives.
October 24, 2022
In your own words, explain what the Critical Language Scholarship is and what being a Critical Language scholar means to you.
Jennifer Carlson Ph.D. '13
While most of us like to think we come by our beliefs independently, new research out of Berkeley suggests otherwise.
In the study, published in Open Mind, some 600 participants were given a series of 30 statements ranging from “the Earth is flat” to “HIV causes AIDS” and asked to rate how strongly they believed them. Then they were shown how many others believed those statements and asked to reevaluate. The study found that subjects tended to adjust their level of certainty in response to what others believed.
First-time visitors to Yosemite Valley gape in awe at the sheer granite wall of El Capitan and the neatly sliced face of Half Dome, aware, perhaps vaguely, that rain and glaciers must have taken a long time to cut and sculpt that landscape. But how long?
For those attending the lecture in person, directions to Alumni House can be found here.
October 20, 2022
Only a meter or two below our feet dwells a wealth of microbes whose riches remain largely unexplored. It’s a realm where bacteria, bacteria-like organisms called archaea and fungi mingle with viruses and other non-living bits of DNA or DNA — all living with, in or on one another.
In that alien world, researchers have now found large DNA molecules that aren’t quite viruses, which are DNA or RNA wrapped in proteins, but that seem to have infected archaea and acquired along the way a slew of genes from their archaeal hosts.
The national program PBS NewsHour recently visited UC Berkeley and examined how the school is working to repatriate artifacts to Indigenous tribes. Many of the artifacts are held in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
The story examined all the ways the museum — and the campus — have changed their ways of interacting with the many artifacts collected from Indigenous tribes in California.
October 18, 2022
October 14, 2022
Not long into “Everything Rises,” which opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music(link is external) on Wednesday night, the bass-baritone Davóne Tines confronts the audience with an uncomfortable declaration.
“I was the moth, lured by your flame,” Tines, who is Black, sings with disdain. “I hated myself for needing you, dear white people: money, access and fame.”
October 13, 2022
Is the self just a fiction we create to make sense of a complicated world?
October 10, 2022
In your own words, explain what the Strauss Scholarship is and what being a Strauss scholar means to you.
The Strauss scholarship allows students to create an impact by funding public service projects. Being a low-income first-generation farmworker, I could never have imagined that I would be a Strauss Scholar. I am grateful for the sacrifices and struggles that it took to be able to give back to my farm working community in the Central Valley.
October 7, 2022
Amid much speculation and research about how our genetics affect the way we age, a University of California, Berkeley, study now shows that individual differences in our DNA matter less as we get older and become prone to diseases of aging, such as diabetes and cancer.
October 5, 2022
Carolyn Bertozzi, a professor at Stanford University who today shared the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, spent her formative and most creative years at UC Berkeley.
After graduating from Harvard University in 1988, she earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Berkeley in 1993 and, following postdoctoral and faculty positions elsewhere, returned to join the chemistry faculty and Berkeley Lab in 1996.
October 4, 2022
In 1971, graduate student Stuart Freedman and postdoctoral fellow John Clauser took over a room in the sub-basement of Birge Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, and built an experiment that would put to the test one of the most enduring weirdnesses of quantum mechanics, what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”
October 3, 2022
How did you come to UC Berkeley?
I’m a Southern California Native, born and raised in Huntington Park, a city with a Latinx population of over 95%. In 2013, I applied to work at UC Berkeley because my husband wanted to be closer to his younger brother, who doubles as his best friend. What better place to start a new adventure for our little family of three and to grow my career than at the top public university in the world, right?
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Svante Pääbo for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution. Humanity has always been intrigued by its origins. Where do we come from, and how are we related to those who came before us? What makes us, Homo sapiens, different from other hominins?
October 2, 2022
Berkeley Letters & Science also spoke to Ixchel González-Ramírez, a PhD candidate in Integrative Biology. González-Ramírez is a plant evolutionary biologist who describes her work as being similar to that of a detective: “My work…pieces together the series of events that had to happen for us to have the diversity of plants that we have today. But unlike a detective, I work on much longer time scales - even before the dinosaurs existed!
September 30, 2022
Timothy Springer, the Latham Family Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, has been named a recipient of the 2022 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for biomedical research.
September 29, 2022
Dr Saul Perlmutter, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and a 2011 Nobel laureate in physics, discusses the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe and the essential role of computing in this field of research.
September 27, 2022
On September 21, the R. K. Cho Economics Prize Steering Committee (Chairman: President Seoung Hwan Suh of Yonsei University) held the "12th and 13th R. K. Cho Economics Prize Award Ceremony and Commemorative Lectures" at the Gakdangheon Auditorium in the Daewoo Hall.
In Berkeley Talks episode 151, novelist Ilija Trojanow discusses why we need to embrace the idea of utopia in order to imagine a better future.
“It’s important to not confuse what does exist with what is impossible, which is how most people use the word “utopian” in everyday parlance,” Trojanow says. “Progress has, at times, been utopia come true. By envisaging differing realities, we are imagining alternatives into existence.
September 22, 2022
September 16, 2022
It’s no surprise that seats in Poulomi Saha’s course, Cults in Popular Culture, fill up fast. Cults have long fascinated Americans, who had no shortage of docu-series about them to binge-watch while isolated during the pandemic. Popular ones include “Wild Wild Country,” on the Rajneeshpuram community in Wasco County, Oregon; “The Vow,” about the Nxivm “self-improvement” group, and “Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults.”
Mass extinctions litter the history of life on Earth, with about a dozen known in addition to the five largest ones — the last of which, at the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago, killed off the dinosaurs and 70% of all life on Earth.
A new study, led by scientists at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, concludes that most of these mass extinctions had one thing in common: They occurred after mega-eruptions that spewed volcanic lava and toxic gases for hundreds of thousands of years, and some for as long as a million years.
Reflecting on My First Year.
Now that Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived, I’ve realized that this is my second year at Berkeley (a little late for the realization, I know). The past year has really flown by — I remember being an admitted freshman and virtually attending bridges’ Senior Weekendand listening to the Raices members discuss their experiences with being Latinx at Cal.
September 8, 2022
September 1, 2022
Checking off one of its key goals, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) imaged its first exoplanet — a young, gas giant planet six to 12 times more massive than Jupiter orbiting a star 350 light years from Earth.
How has climate change become a security issue? Geographer Brittany Meché argues that contemporary anxieties about climate change refugees rearticulate colonial power through international security. Through interviews with security and development experts, her research reveals how the so-called “pragmatic solutions” to climate change migration exacerbate climate change injustice.
August 30, 2022
Amidst the last few weeks of summer break, campus is abuzz with preparation for the start of the fall semester. But in all that bustle, staff, faculty, graduate students and postdocs are taking time for the important work of coming together for inclusiveBio (iBio), a day of conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion in the Departments of Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology.
August 25, 2022
This Q&A is part of a series of new student profiles for our 2022 back-to-school coverage. Have someone you think we should write about? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What year are you, and where are you from?
I’m a first-year student. I’m Sri Lankan, but I’ve lived my whole life in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates.
August 24, 2022
Charles Yu, discusses his 2020 book, Interior Chinatown, which goes inside the mind of a young Asian American man trying to make it in Hollywood. Incoming UC Berkeley students read the book over the summer as part of On The Same Page, a program from the College of Letters & Science, so that they’d have something in common to talk about throughout the year — socially, in classes and at events designed to explore the book’s themes.
August 23, 2022
August 22, 2022
Berkeley News: What year are you and where are you from?
Clarissa Arceo: I transferred from Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. I grew up in Huntington Park, California.
The latest images of Jupiter from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are stunners.
Captured on July 27, the infrared images — artificially colored to make specific features stand out — show fine filigree along the edges of the colored bands and around the Great Red Spot and also provide an unprecedented view of the auroras over the north and south poles.
One wide-field image presents a unique lineup of the planet, its faint rings and two of Jupiter’s smaller satellites — Amalthea and Adrastea — against a background of galaxies.
August 17, 2022
The Division of Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley is pleased to announce the appointment of Debarati Sanyal(link is external) as director of the Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research(link is external) (CIR) effective July 1, 2022.
August 16, 2022
While still in high school, Xinyi Liu worked briefly in a lab at Beihang University in Beijing and was surprised to see Chinese researchers routinely using Google Translate to generate the first English draft of scientific papers. Translation is a must if scientists want to submit to high-profile journals, almost all of which are in English.
This year's recipient of the AC Excellence in Teaching Award is Brandi Summers, Associate Professor for Geography. Prof. Summers won the award for her class 70AC, "The Urban Experience: Race, Class, Gender and the American City".
It’s entirely possible, maybe even likely, that during some slow day at the lab early in her career, Jennifer Doudna, in a moment of private ambition, daydreamed about making a breakthrough that could change the world. But communicating with the world about the ethical ramifications of such a breakthrough? “Definitely not!” says Doudna, who along with Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for their research on CRISPR gene-editing technology.
In Berkeley Talks episode 148, Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology and founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Biological Inspiration in Education and Research at UC Berkeley, discusses how nature and its creatures — cockroaches, crabs, centipedes, geckos — inspire innovative design in all sorts of useful things, from bomb-detecting, stair-climbing robots to prosthetics and other medical equipment.
August 10, 2022
In a stark display of their economic power following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies deployed an array of sanctions aimed at curtailing Russia’s access to global financial markets and industrial supply chains. These unprecedented economic sanctions are intended to diminish the resources Russia has available to prosecute its war. While the moves have demonstrated a high degree of allied cooperation, they have also heightened debate about the relative effectiveness of economic measures aimed to induce peaceful behavior or to deter hostilities vs.
Over the past two years, the United States has experienced an enormous surge of anti-Asian violence. According to a new report from the Brookings Institute, 1 in 6 Asian Americans reported personally experiencing a hate crime in 2021.
The University of California, Berkeley’s 2022-23 admissions season was like no other, marked by a lawsuit and subsequent court ruling that threatened to drastically reduce the number of first-year students offered admission for fall 2022.
Ultimately, state legislation signed in March allowed UC Berkeley to offer admission to more than 19,700 prospective freshmen and transfer students for the new academic year — the same target number it had originally planned for.
Four UC Berkeley professors have been selected to be the inaugural Matrix Faculty Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year: Gašper Beguš, Assistant Professor of Linguistics; Puck Engman, Assistant Professor of History; Ethan Katz, Associate Professor of History; and Salar Mameni, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies.
August 8, 2022
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have created a new COVID-19 therapeutic that could one day make treating SARS-CoV-2 infections as easy as using a nasal spray for allergies.
The therapeutic uses short snippets of synthetic DNA to gum up the genetic machinery that allows SARS-CoV-2 to replicate within the body.
August 7, 2022
Sana Desai is a third-year pre-medical student at UC Berkeley studying Integrative Human Biology and English. Here, she shares how her experiences shaped the topics she chose to study and her current projects.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a student, a biologist, a writer, a singer, a gender equality advocate, a teacher, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was insulted on the Capitol steps in July 2020, it was a brief media sensation. But what does being called an “effing bitch” mean for how we think about political speech?
August 1, 2022
The last couple of years have been the economic equivalent of driving through a mountain pass in a blizzard. Never mind predicting the next turn — investors and policymakers barely know where they are at any given moment.
Sometimes new economic data only add to the confusion: Preliminary gross domestic product figures released last week showed the US economy contracting at a 0.9% annual rate in the second quarter — while consumers kept splurging on services and workers were enjoying one of the hottest job markets in decades.
In Berkeley Talks episode 147, a panel of scholars discusses UC Berkeley professor Darieck Scott’s new book Keeping It Unreal: Black Queer Fantasy and Superhero Comics, which explores how fantasies of Black power and triumph in superhero comics and other genres create challenges to — and respite from — white suprema
July 31, 2022
In the catacombs of the Bancroft Library, in a chilled, climate-controlled vault, is a 1,300-page document that tells the horrors of Manuel de Lucena’s life and death as a clandestine Jew during the Spanish Inquisition. In black ink on old parchment, scribes some 400 years ago penned the details of his lengthy imprisonment and his coerced testimony, along with the interrogation and torture of other Jews implicated in the investigation.
Congratulations to Jessica Schirmer for being one of five individuals selected as a 2022 Dissertation Grant winner.
Jessica Schirmer is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies social policy and inequality in the United States. She is particularly interested in using social science to identify new political and institutional possibilities to advance democratic accountability, opportunity, and mobility through policy reform.
July 28, 2022
- Novartis-Berkeley Translational Chemical Biology Institute combines Novartis expertise in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry with Berkeley’s expertise in covalent chemoproteomics and chemistry methodologies
- Research collaboration aims to unlock intractable drug targets, discover new therapeutic modalities, and accelerate discovery of new medicines in human diseases
July 26, 2022
A dense, collapsed star spinning 707 times per second — making it one of the fastest spinning neutron stars in the Milky Way galaxy — has shredded and consumed nearly the entire mass of its stellar companion and, in the process, grown into the heaviest neutron star observed to date.
Weighing this record-setting neutron star, which tops the charts at 2.35 times the mass of the sun, helps astronomers understand the weird quantum state of matter inside these dense objects, which — if they get much heavier than that — collapse entirely and disappear as a black hole.
July 14, 2022
BERKELEY, CA — Wealth inequality exceeds historic records in the United States, as can be clearly seen in the research done by Gabriel Zucman, Associate Professor of Economics at the UC Berkeley Department of Economics and Faculty Director of The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley.
July 13, 2022
IT WAS THE summer of 1942 and a secret group of senior theoretical physicists at the University of California, Berkeley — dubbed the “luminaries” — took the historic first steps toward the design and manufacture of the world’s first nuclear weapon, the atomic bomb.
July 11, 2022
In 2019, astronomers observed the nearest example to date of a star that was shredded, or “spaghettified,” after approaching too close to a massive black hole.
That tidal disruption of a sun-like star by a black hole 1 million times more massive than itself took place 215 million light years from Earth. Luckily, this was the first such event bright enough that astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley, could study the optical light from the stellar death, specifically the light’s polarization, to learn more about what happened after the star was torn apart.
Armando Lara-Millán, assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Sociology, has earned the 2022 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award from the American Sociological Association.
July 7, 2022
I’m an Afro-Latinx, non-binary, queer, trans poet and activist. I want to be a scholar that troubles academia.
I want to reveal social inequities and conduct research that lifts the veil off the nebulous of white supremacy and post-colonial oppression. I want people to care about Central California’s rural areas and the farmers that feed us, because that’s where I’m from.
Oliver O’Reilly, whose 30-year career at UC Berkeley is characterized by a deep passion for teaching and student success, will be the campus’s new vice provost for undergraduate education starting this Friday, July 1, officials announced today. O’Reilly has been interim vice provost for undergraduate education during the past year.
July 4, 2022
The Great Immigrants is a program created by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, hosted every Fourth of July. The program is meant to honor the legacy of their founder Andrew Carnegie by recognizing an extraordinary group of immigrants who have made notable contributions to the progress of American society. This year Karen Nakamura, Professor of Anthropology, here at UC Berkeley, was selected as one of the 34 honorees.
July 2, 2022
How did you end up where you are today?
I was originally born at a refugee camp in Laos that no longer exists today. My parents were refugees from Laos who wanted to come to the states to give my sisters and I a better opportunity than they had growing up. Although I was quite young when we moved to the states, I definitely felt the pressure of coming from a refugee family because I had to pull my weight at an early age so we can have stability.
Tell us about yourself!
“Hi, I’m Jazalyn Cruz and I am a third year student at UC Berkeley, studying media studies and design. I come from a tight-knit family of five who has taught me the importance of hardwork, to take advantage of all opportunities, and to prioritize self-care.
June 29, 2022
In today’s individualistic and polarized socio-political landscape, public service may not be at the top of everyone’s minds. But two research centers at UC Berkeley are hoping to turn that around, thanks to a $750,000 grant from California Volunteers, a state office tasked with recruiting young Californians to engage in public service.
The premise is simple, and it seems like common sense: If Republicans and Democrats could come together for good faith dialogue, the conversations would reduce tensions and ease the corrosive polarization that threatens U.S. democracy.
June 28, 2022
Author and scholar Howard Besser ’75, inspired by UC Berkeley’s enduring legacy of impassioned student movements, has made generous gifts in support of future change makers. In March 2021, Besser donated $1 million to establish the Howard Besser Program for Anti-Authoritarianism and Social Movements. Later that year, Dr. Besser expanded his impact with a $2 million bequest to create The Howard Besser Early Career Chair in Anti-Authoritarianism and Social Movements.
Coming from a long line of Iowa farmers, David Savage always thought he would do research to improve crops. That dream died in college, when it became clear that any genetic tweak to a crop would take at least a year to test; for some perennials and trees, it could take five to 10 years. Faced with such slow progress, he chose to study the proteins in photosynthetic bacteria instead.
June 27, 2022
Ten years ago this week, Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published the results of a test-tube experiment on bacterial genes. When the study came out in the journal Science on June 28, 2012, it did not make headline news. In fact, over the next few weeks, it did not make any news at all.
Looking back, Dr. Doudna wondered if the oversight had something to do with the wonky title she and her colleagues had chosen for the study: “A Programmable Dual RNA-Guided DNA Endonuclease in Adaptive Bacterial Immunity.”
June 23, 2022
The Division of Arts & Humanities at UC Berkeley is pleased to announce Professor Stephen Best as the new director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, effective July 1, 2022.
June 22, 2022
Robert Knight, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI), and his wife Donatella Scabini have
June 16, 2022
Tell us about a professor who inspired you.
Professor Wen-hsin Yeh taught the first Chinese history class I ever took. I was so moved that before I even completed her class, I changed my major to Asian studies. More importantly, she encouraged me to expand my horizons beyond just books, and to study abroad for a year at Beijing University. That experience transformed my personal and professional life.
If, as astronomers believe, the death of large stars leave behind black holes, there should be hundreds of millions of them scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy. The problem is, isolated black holes are invisible.
Now, a team led by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers has for the first time discovered what may be a free-floating black hole by observing the brightening of a more distant star as its light was distorted by the object’s strong gravitational field — so-called gravitational microlensing.
As a Parkland shooting survivor, Kai Koerber understands the urgency of mental health awareness. As an advocate, entrepreneur and data scientist, he has a vision and a plan to make a difference.
We’d like to wrap up 2021–2022 by congratulating all of the current Cal Bears and recent alums who received nationally competitive scholarships this academic year, as well as those who submitted strong applications for the more than 25 scholarship programs our office supports.
This year’s recipients are:
Note to readers: This story contains historical images of lynchings.
June 14, 2022
Alumna Addy Spiller '00 Economics, a long-time supporter of the Economics Department through the Charter Hill Society for the Social Sciences, shares in a Q&A why she chose to support CHS in a leadership role as an honorary chair and what she appreciates about her Berkeley experience.
June 11, 2022
A team led by UC Berkeley astronomers has for the first time discovered what they believe to be a free-floating black hole located between 2,280 and 6,260 light years away from Earth.
It’s an incredibly rare discovery, since black holes are invisible. The team of researchers, led by Cal graduate student Casey Lam and astronomy professor Jessica Lu, found the object through gravitational microlensing, in which the brightening of a more distant star is the result of the strong gravitational pull of the object.
June 9, 2022
A remarkable international community of economists and economics students gathered in Berkeley June 3 and 4 to celebrate the achievements of Berkeley scholar David Card, who shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in economics.
Among those who joined in the celebration were Card’s two co-winners: Guido W. Imbens of Stanford University and Joshua D. Angrist of MIT.
June 8, 2022
June 5, 2022
For many Southeast Asian refugees, the current violence in Afghanistan and Ukraine is like an instant replay of a painful history that few can forget.
If little is taught about the Vietnam War — a misnomer, because the war was not confined to Vietnam — even less is known about Cambodia and the U.S. intentional destruction of that country to secure a supposedly honorable exit from Vietnam in April 1975. What followed was a genocide that decimated almost a quarter of Cambodia’s population and rendered hundreds of thousands of families and individuals stateless: I was one of them.
A major Hollywood studio sent UC Berkeley back to the 1940s at the end of May for a motion picture that was filmed on campus.
The set, which included old cars and costumes, was constructed over two days in an area near Sather Tower, Wheeler Hall and Physics North, a 1924 building designed by John Galen Howard and known as LeConte Hall until 2020.
For Trinh T. Minh-ha, learning isn’t about accumulating knowledge.
“This has been something that my students very much appreciate,” said Trinh, a longtime UC Berkeley professor of gender and women’s studies and of rhetoric who retired in 2020. “But also, I have had students who agonized with me over the whole semester because of this.
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos; Em Huang, director of LGBTQ+ Advancement & Equity; Benjamin E. Hermalin, vice provost for the faculty; Stephen Sutton, vice chancellor for student affairs and Eugene Whitlock, chief people and culture officer sent the following message to the campus community on Wednesday:
This month is Pride Month, a time to celebrate UC Berkeley’s queer and trans students, staff and faculty: We celebrate you, your thriving and your contributions to the campus community.
As a child in the Philippines during the 1970s, Joi Barrios-Leblanc remembers singing songs that glorified the country’s president Ferdinand Marcos, and his U.S-backed regime of martial law that turned the government into a one-man dictatorship that killed, tortured and incarcerated thousands of its citizens.
In Berkeley Talks episode 141, a panel of scholars discuss the work of Roman Vishniac, a renowned Russian American photographer who took thousands of photos over seven decades and across three continents.
Although Vishniac’s genres were diverse, he’s best known for images that he took of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.
May 26, 2022
A chance discovery on her first day at the University and Jepson Herbaria in 2005 changed Kelly Agnew’s life, leading her down a rabbit hole of Civil War battles and prison camps, gold rush settlements, the exploits and foibles of California’s earliest botanists, the founding of the Sierra Club and ultimately the establishment at UC Berkeley of the largest plant collection at any public university in the world.
The California Language Archive’s (CLA) new website was unveiled this week!. Professor Andrew Garrett (Director) praised the hard work of Ronald Sprouse (IT Specialist), Zachary O'Hagan (Manager), and Anna Björklund (graduate student assistant), who were tasked with the project.
May 23, 2022
On May 10, 2022, Dr. Lisa DeNell Cook, UC Berkeley alumna, was confirmed to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is the first Black woman to serve on the Fed in its 108-year history. As governor, Cook will take part in setting U.S. monetary policy and stabilizing the national financial system.
Nikki Jones, H. Michael and Jeanne Williams Professor and Department Chair, African American Studies at UC Berkeley, reflects on the Buffalo massacre. Listen to the WTOP interview
May 20, 2022
In the mid-1990s, Quirina Geary was a cashier at a Safeway store in Madera, California, and a young mother of two. While raised in a tribal community in California’s Central Valley, she did not speak her ancestral Mutsun language and wanted to fix that.
Intimidated, yet determined, she headed along with her sister, Clara Luna, to UC Berkeley to attend Breath of Life, a biennial workshop in which California Native Americans pair up with linguists and other scholars to revitalize Indigenous languages by sharing personal histories, knowledge and archival materials.
May 18, 2022
UC Berkeley graduate student Justin Lee beat out nine other talented contestants at this year’s Grad Slam competition, taking home the top prize for his three-minute talk on how genetic engineering could be used to stop COVID from replicating inside the body.
The annual contest, now in its seventh year, challenges grad students to sum up their research in three pithy and jargon-free minutes that a non-research audience can understand.
Halfway through Anjika Pai’s junior year of high school, Donald Trump began his U.S. presidency. As one of the few Indian Americans in the pastoral community of Jamison, Pennsylvania, Pai braced herself for an onslaught of xenophobia.
“People’s bigotry around that time was out on full display, and there was nothing I could do to make them like me because of the way I look, as a brown person,” she recalls.
May 17, 2022
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion Dania Matos sent the following message on Monday, May 16:
Dear Black leaders on campus,
The news of the anti-Black mass shooting in Buffalo this weekend is shocking and horrific. I imagine many of you felt deep sadness or anger as you watched the news unfold. I know I did. I still do.
May 12, 2022
Scientists have captured the first image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, discovered by UC Berkeley professor emeritus Reinhard Genzel and UCLA professor Andrea Ghez.
May 11, 2022
Undergraduate students typically start their university years expecting the greatest challenges will come in the classroom or the lab, but the Class of 2022 also had to work through a pandemic, natural disasters and historic social turmoil.
May 10, 2022
It was fall 2019 when Katherine Snyder, an associate professor of English at UC Berkeley, first taught her course Climate Fiction. Wildfires were blazing across California, prompting a series of public safety power shut-offs across the state.
May 3, 2022
Nine UC Berkeley faculty members, seven of whom are L&S faculty, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), bringing the total number of living AAAS members at Berkeley to about 275. This year, the following L&S members were elected:
Wendy Brown, Berkeley professor emerita of political science and currently the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey
Six UC Berkeley’s faculty members were elected today to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
The six were among 120 members and 30 international members elected at the conclusion of the academy’s 159th annual meeting. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
There are now 151 Berkeley faculty members in the academy.
The newly elected members are:
New research on the ownership of about 800,000 properties in Dubai co-authored By Gabriel Zucman, Director of The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley offers a unique window into cross-border real estate investments. Read more
May 2, 2022
The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) is pleased to announce a $1,000,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in support of a 4-year project with the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI). This grant will support APARRI in its mission to advance the interdisciplinary study of Asian Pacific American religions and to ensure the legacy of Asian Pacific Americans within the American religious and racial landscape.
Wendy Brown, Professor Emerita in the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, speaks to the New York Times about campus culture. Read more
April 29, 2022
As a kid growing up in Orange County, UC Berkeley biology professor Randy Schekman remembers collecting a jar of dirty pond scum from a nearby riverbed, sliding it under the lens of his toy microscope and being transfixed by the tiny, cellular world he saw.
That fascination led Schekman to an illustrious career: a Berkeley biology professorship and a 2013 Nobel Prize for groundbreaking research on cellular membranes.
UC Berkeley Dean of Social Sciences Raya has been announced as a new member of The Social Science Research Council Board of Directors. Read more
April 27, 2022
The College of Letters & Science is well represented on the 2022 UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award list.
April 26, 2022
In Episode 8, "The Man Who Upended the Universe," UC Berkeley physics professor, Nobel Laureate, and astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter speaks with Alan Alda for an engaging conversation. From the Clear + Vivid Podcast:
After making the astonishing discovery that what he and his fellow cosmologists thought they knew about the universe was wrong, Saul Perlmutter began a course at his university explaining why catching mistakes is at the heart of science. It's also a lesson in life for the rest of us.
April 24, 2022
In episode 139 of Berkeley Talks, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), gives the UC Berkeley Energy and Resources Group‘s 28th Annual Lecture on Energy and Environment. In the March 31, 2022 talk, Ogunbiyi discusses how to drive a just, inclusive and equitable transition to affordable and sustainable energy for all, and how the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting energy markets around the world.
April 20, 2022
You can hear Hari Srinivasan’s confident voice in his academic research papers, his Daily Californiannewspaper articles and in his poetry and essays. But in person, you’re not likely to hear him speak.
That’s because the UC Berkeley psychology major’s ability to vocalize is severely limited due to regressive autism and a neurological disorder known as oral-motor apraxia.
It closed many doors to him. But not at Berkeley, and certainly not now.
For the third year in a row, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco is partnering with Science at Cal at UC Berkeley to host "Dia de la Ciencia,” an event that gives the Spanish-speaking public an opportunity to interact with scientists from different fields and have a closer experience with real scientific activities! This event will be a virtual event showcasing six UC Berkeley scientists.
April 19, 2022
UC Berkeley graduate schools and programs scored high in the 2023 Best Graduate Schools rankings recently released by U.S. News & World Report. Among them, the departments of English, history, sociology, and psychology scored #1. Graduate programs in biological sciences, clinical psychology, and mathematics came in third as well. Graduate programs in political science and economics each placed fourth.
April 14, 2022
Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Director of the UC Berkeley Arts Research Center has curated an official collateral exhibition for the upcoming Venice Biennale, entitled Louise Nevelson: Persistence.The Biennale is one of the most prestigious art exhibitions in the world; there are only 30 official collateral events, and to be chosen is a huge honor and career highlight.
Amitav Ghosh, novelist, and essayist who is an award-winning author of several books of fiction and non-fiction will be in conversation with Dr. Kum Kum Bhavnani and Dr. Sugata Ray on April 23rd from 3-4:30 PM. Drawing from writings and against the backdrop of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh will discuss how the history of resource exploitation and the extractive mindset is directly connected to the deep inequality around us today.
Andrew Dillin, the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research and a Howard Hughes Medical investigator in UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, shared the 2022 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences for work on the aging process.
April 13, 2022
In Berkeley Talks episode 138, Harry Edwards, a renowned sports activist and UC Berkeley professor emeritus of sociology, discusses the intersections of race and sport, the history of predatory inclusion, athletes’ struggle for definitional authority and the power of sport to change society.
“You can change society by changing people’s perceptions and understandings of the games they play,” Edwards said at a March 1 campus event sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI) and Cal Athletics.
April 11, 2022
April 6, 2022
Dr. Julia Schaletzky, Executive Director of CEND, IVRI, and the Drug Discovery Institute, has been chosen as a speaker at the upcoming TEDxBerkeley Event for her talk: "Overcharged and Underserved - Blind Spots in Healthcare".
April 4, 2022
Over the two decades paleontologist Kevin Padian taught a freshman seminar called The Age of Dinosaurs, one question asked frequently by undergraduates stuck with him: Why are the arms of Tyrannosaurus rex so ridiculously short?
In this Berkeley Voices episode, Bree Rosenblum, a professor of global change biology at UC Berkeley, talks about why we need to stop blaming each other for the environmental crisis that we’re in, and instead confront its root causes and expand our ideas of what it means to be human on our planet. “I really think that if we’re not addressing culture at a really deep level, that we cannot address climate change,” said Rosenblum. “Do we want humanity to mean what it has meant in the past, or do we want to create a new meaning for our species and for our purpose?”
Payal Hathi, a PhD student in Demography and Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and a Research Fellow at r.i.c.e., co-authors a major scientific article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
March 31, 2022
Today, postdoc J.J. Zanazzi was announced as a 2022 51 Pegasi b Fellow by the Heising-Simons Foundation. J.J. will complete his fellowship at UC Berkeley in the group of Eugene Chiang. The 51 Pegasi b Fellowship provides exceptional postdoctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy. J.J. will be the third 51 Peg Fellow (all hosted by Chiang) to take up residence at Berkeley since the fellowship’s inception in 2017.
On April 11 make sure to watch the 2022 Berkeley Grand Slam! Cheer on Berkeley graduate students (most of them from L&S!) as they showcase their research in a series of three-minute talks and vie for the “Berkeley Finalist” title. Attendees will get to vote on who wins the “People's Choice” award.
March 30, 2022
For 25 years, UC Berkeley biologist Robert Dudley has been intrigued by humans’ love of alcohol. In 2014, he wrote a book proposing that our attraction to booze arose millions of years ago, when our ape and monkey ancestors discovered that the scent of alcohol led them to ripe, fermenting and nutritious fruit.
A new study now supports this idea, which Dudley calls the “drunken monkey” hypothesis.
March 28, 2022
April 5th, 4:30pm-6pm
310 Banatao Auditorium
March 18, 2022
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that a drug once widely used to wean alcoholics off of drinking helps to improve sight in mice with retinal degeneration.
The drug may revive sight in humans with the inherited disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and perhaps in other vision disorders, including age-related macular degeneration.
March 15, 2022
As a Russian immigrant experiencing economic woes, Sofia Liashcheva expressed herself through art. As a UC Berkeley student, she speaks out against the war in Ukraine: “There is no excuse for the war, and I will do what I can to speak out against it. Because I stand with Ukraine.”
March 14, 2022
“People have been discussing the idea of a graduate program in Cognitive Science at Berkeley since at least the early 90s,” says Terry Regier, a Professor of Linguistics and a previous director of the Cognitive Science program. This long-hoped-for goal will finally come true, in the form of a PhD designated emphasis (DE), thanks to support from the Social Science Division, the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences (ICBS), the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, and a generous gift from Metta Murdaya ‘97 (Architecture and Cognitive Science).
Paul Pierson, an influential UC Berkeley scholar and author focused on the challenges confronting American democracy, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS).
In episode 136 of Berkeley Talks, UC Berkeley psychology professor Jack Gallant discusses functional brain mapping for understanding health, aging and disease.
In the last three weeks, Russia’s political ambitions in Ukraine have escalated into a full-fledged invasion and war. As politicians attempt to negotiate a ceasefire, thousands of soldiers and hundreds of civilians have likely been killed, and more than two million people have fled the country into neighboring Poland, Hungary, Romania, and other countries. The conflict has upended international relations, raised questions about the dependence of the United States and Europe on Russian fossil fuels, and strained infrastructures of refugee assistance and resettlement.
March 3, 2022
Mentoring and support program activates students’ potential for success in biology, at Berkeley, and in life. This video illustrates the history and impact of the Biology Scholars program — and the importance of the community and legacy it creates.
March 2, 2022
In episode 135 of Berkeley Talks, UC Berkeley political scientist George Breslauer and economics professor Yuriy Gorodnichenko discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — what his motivations are and how they compare to Adolf Hitler’s and Joseph Stalin’s, if the invasion was avoidable and what should be done about it.
“I was born in 1991, when Ukraine declared its independence and the Soviet Union collapsed. I grew up in a rural area of western Ukraine in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in a home built by my grandparents. My parents and grandparents still live there. This is the place I call my home, no matter where I live.
March 1, 2022
When two neutron stars spiral into one another and merge to form a black hole — an event recorded in 2017 by gravitational wave detectors and telescopes worldwide — does it immediately become a black hole? Or does it take a while to spin down before gravitationally collapsing past the event horizon into a black hole?
Ongoing observations of that 2017 merger by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, an orbiting telescope, suggests the latter: that the merged object stuck around, likely for a mere second, before undergoing ultimate collapse.
February 28, 2022
To honor Black History Month 2022, we asked Black members of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health community what the month means to them. The answers we received were thoughtful, nuanced, emotional, and joyful. Click through the links to see our participant’s full thoughts on Black History Month, Black Lives Matter, Black experience in health care, and what UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public Health can do to amplify Black voices.
February 25, 2022
Physicists searching — unsuccessfully — for today’s most favored candidate for dark matter, the axion, have been looking in the wrong place, according to a new supercomputer simulation of how axions were produced shortly after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
February 24, 2022
We are sad to report that Professor Emeritus Leo Bersani died on February 20, 2022.
Ukraine has been in the headlines since the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and the public may be understandably tired of hearing more about Ukraine.
Unfortunately, the occasion now is far more serious. Not for Ukraine. For the free world. Indeed, what may happen in Ukraine is likely to determine the future of global security and order. Let’s start with the facts and ask a few basic questions to understand the stakes:
February 18, 2022
Four UC Berkeley assistant professors have been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, one of the most prestigious honors given to early-career scientific researchers.
The four are among 118 new 2022 fellows announced this week by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships recognize young scholars whose “achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada,” the foundation said in an announcement.
February 17, 2022
At UC Berkeley, neuroscientist Dr. Daniela Kaufer and now UCSF post-doc Kimberly Long — along with UCSF and San Francisco VA scientists Radiologist Dr. Linda Chao and Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Neylan — may have provided a convincing reason why some people are resilient to trauma and others are susceptible.
February 16, 2022
As a young boy in Portsmouth, a naval town in southern England dating back to Roman times, Andrew Stewart kindled his fascination with the ancient and medieval realms. While archaeology started off as a childhood hobby, it quickly blossomed into a career that has taken Stewart around the world, shedding light on human history.
February 15, 2022
What’s wrong with antitrust policy for regulating the tech sector? In his new book, Innovation Matters: Competition Policy for the High-Technology Economy, Richard Gilbert, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at UC Berkeley, argues that regulators should be considering the effects of mergers and monopolies on innovation, rather than price.
February 8, 2022
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Catherine P. Koshland announced today the reappointment of Michael R. Botchan as Dean of the College of Letters & Science Division of Biological Sciences. Botchan has held this position since 2016 and is a professor of Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cell Biology.
February 4, 2022
Between 1910 and 1970, about 6 million Black Americans moved from the rural South to cities in the North, the West and other parts of the United States. It’s known as the Great Migration.
Musicians who moved to these cities became ambassadors, says UC Berkeley history professor Waldo Martin, not only for the music of the South, but for the culture from which the music emerged. And the music was made and remade, and continues to be today.
Many of today’s marine invertebrates, including sponges and jellyfish, have chromosomes with the same ancient structure they inherited from their primitive ancestors more than 600 million years ago, according to a new study.
The surprise finding is a reminder that evolution is conservative — it keeps things that work well, like the organization of genes on a chromosome — and provides a key link between creatures alive today, including humans, and our very distant ancestors.
February 3, 2022
Gross domestic product is a useful metric of a nation’s economic success, but what you’d also like to know is who reaps the benefit when it grows — the rich, the poor, the middle class or everyone. During the pandemic, for example, we know that government benefits helped the poor, while stimulative monetary policy pushed up stock prices and benefited the rich in particular. What was the net result?
The American philosopher, Judith Butler, has been awarded the Catalonia International Prize for their influential work in fields such as political philosophy and ethics.
The jury considered their "activism and thinking inspiring," showing "that life counts," Catalan president Pere Aragonès said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Aragonès also highlighted "the revolution and transformation their work has had on feminist philosophy, their activism for lesbian and gay rights, and their support for the queer community."
February 2, 2022
Professor Alex Filippenko has been awarded the American Astronomical Society’s 2022 Education Prize “for his passionate and wildly popular teaching of non-science majors; his mentoring of hundreds of teaching assistants and undergraduate research students; his dedication to public education through lectures, TV documentaries, and video courses; his textbook and other popular writings; and his leadership in saving Lick Observatory, a prominent California observatory that faced defunding in 2014.”
February 1, 2022
UC Berkeley economists have launched a powerful new web tool that allows users to track, almost in real time, how economic growth and public policy affect the distribution of income and wealth among classes in the United States.
In observance of Black History Month, we celebrate the rich array of organizations and resources created by and for the Black community at Berkeley. Berkeley Diversity has created this comprehensive site with news stories, events, and resource guides that amplify Black Excellence on our campus.
January 27, 2022
Haley Willis, a 2019 graduate of UC Berkeley, is on the visual investigations team at the New York Times and a co-producer of Day of Rage, a documentary about the 2021 U.S. Capitol attack.
Nine members of the UC Berkeley community – including eight faculty and one staff member — have been elected American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows, one of the most distinctive honors within the scientific community. The 2021 class of AAAS fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
NASA’s latest and snazziest mission, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on Christmas Day, deployed its 21-foot-wide mirror a mere two weeks ago and reached its orbital destination earlier this week. With a flashy new telescope now nearly a reality, astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, are chomping at the bit to start observing.
January 23, 2022
To engage students in course materials, educators often turn to cutting-edge tools. As technology progresses, new methods offer an increasingly wide array of options for professors. Forms of communication and inquiry have indeed transformed, but what if a form that dates back thousands of years can provide students with new insights? What if practices from the past can aid us in understanding the future?
January 19, 2022
A Conversation with Marshall Scholar Jonathan Kuo
January 18, 2022
Michigan State University economist and professor Lisa D. Cook today was nominated by President Joe Biden to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. If confirmed, Cook will be the first Black woman to serve on the board in its 108-year history. Professor Cook is an economist at Michigan State University who has researched racial disparities and labor markets.
January 12, 2022
All of human experience - our perceptions, thoughts, feelings, desires, plans and actions - reflect the coordinated activity of a complex network of hundreds of distinct areas and modules within the brain. Disorders of these brain networks that occur during development, aging, or due to neurological disease, can have profound effects on quality of life. Therefore, understanding how information is represented and processed in this network during daily life is a major challenge for medicine.
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to announce that Benjamin E. Hermalin has been chosen to serve as our next executive vice chancellor and provost following a competitive national search that attracted a large number of highly qualified candidates. Ben will begin transitioning into the role over the next several months, with his appointment effective on July 1, 2022.
January 11, 2022
UC Berkeley economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas was named the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the most prestigious and influential positions in the sphere of global economics.
January 7, 2022
A recent study links anxiety behavior in rats, as well as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, to increased myelin — a substance that expedites communication between neurons — in areas of the brain associated with emotions and memory.
January 6, 2022
Astronomers have long suspected that massive stars become red supergiants at the end of their lives, hiccup a few times and then explode in a classic supernova visible across the universe. But no one had ever seen this scenario play out in a single star.
Now, thanks to coordinated observations by numerous ground- and space-based telescopes, astronomers have recorded such a sequence for a star about 120 million light years from Earth and, before it collapsed and exploded, about 10 times the mass of the sun.
January 5, 2022
Three UC Berkeley astronomers have been named 2022 Fellows of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), an accolade the society instituted in 2020 to honor members for extraordinary achievement and service.
December 22, 2021
UC Berkeley is proud to announce its inaugural class of Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation Ph.D. scholars. The university received $1.78 million to support this pilot program, providing three years of incoming cohorts of six graduate students with two years of funding.
December 20, 2021
Nearly four decades after UC Berkeley alumnus Steven Sidener, Class of 1982, earned his economics degree, his legacy will carry on to impact generations of Berkeley graduate students. Sidener passed away in August 2020 at the age of 62, just 8 days shy of his 63rd birthday. Shortly after, the Department of Economics received a $10.5M estate gift that will extend Sidener’s enduring connection to the university and department.
The graduating class of 2021 shared a single emotion: preservation. Being able to survive the most recent years strengthened the class and created a sense of connection and family between its members.
During Saturday’s commencement, the host, campus Associate Dean of Students Alfred Day, recognized the original settlers of the Berkeley area, the Huchiun. He acknowledged everyone benefits from the land in the Berkeley area and that it is the responsibility of the UC Berkeley community to acknowledge these original residents and their current prosperity.
L&S Student Spotlight: Carson McNealy ‘23
Majors: Nutritional Science (Rausser College of Natural Resources) and Psychology (College of Letters & Science)
December 17, 2021
I am distressed to share the news that the distinguished historian of modern France and our former colleague Tyler Stovall passed away unexpectedly on Friday, December 10, at the age of sixty-seven.
December 16, 2021
A Q&A with two scientists aiming to overcome limits in computing power and energy efficiency by designing new microchips
Our laptops and smartphones are compact yet powerful because of silicon microelectronics, also known as microchips or chips, the tiny brains behind the digital brawn of almost every modern device.
But such modern convenience comes at a cost. By 2030, about 25% of the world’s energy – most of which is produced by burning carbon-rich fossil fuels – could be consumed by electronic devices if nothing is done to make them more energy efficient.
December 15, 2021
Robert L. “Bob” Powell passed away on December 13, 2021. He passed peacefully in his home, in the company of friends.
Dear Colleagues and Friends in the College of Letters & Science,
As the fall semester comes to a close, I am writing to say thank you and congratulations, and to wish you a restful and joyous winter break.
Varsha Sarveshwar '20, a UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science alumna, has received one of the world's most prestigious honors for academic excellence—the Rhodes Scholarship.
December 13, 2021
The world reveres Chien-Shiung Wu as a groundbreaking nuclear physicist who made a startling find 65 years ago. But to me, she was Grandma — and I long to know more about her private universe.
December 9, 2021
According to the new report, the world’s richest people now own 11% of global wealth, marking the biggest leap in recent history
The 2022 World Inequality report, authored by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, also found that wealth inequality had a strong correlation to carbon emissions and climate change goals. The poorest half of the population in rich countries is already at (or near) the 2030 climate targets in terms of emission rates, but that’s not the case for the top 50%.
December 8, 2021
Nikki Jones, a celebrated scholar and professor at UC Berkeley, was appointed the H. Michael and Jeanne Williams Professor and Department Chair for African American Studies in the College of Letters & Science.
December 7, 2021
Congratulations to our fellow community members in the College of Letters & Science recognized as 2020 and 2021 Excellence in Advising and Student Services Awards winners!
December 3, 2021
Raffaella Margutti is an associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley's College of Letters & Science, Division of Mathematics & Physical Sciences. In 2021, Margutti was awarded the 2022 New Horizons in Physics Prize, awarded every year to early-career scientists by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.
December 1, 2021
Sarafina Nance, a Ph.D candidate in astrophysics at UC Berkeley, examines exploding stars to better understand the composition, evolution and fate of the universe. An avid science communicator, she wrote a children's book about astronomy, hosted the digital series Constellations and has a deal to publish her memoir Starstruck.
November 30, 2021
The months-long rainy season, or monsoon, that drenches northwestern Mexico each summer, reaching into Arizona and New Mexico and often as far north as Colorado and Northern California, is unlike any monsoon in the world, according to a new analysis by William Boos, UC Berkeley associate professor of earth and planetary science and first author of a paper detailing the findings that appeared last week in the journal Nature
November 24, 2021
Jenina Yutuc is a Fung Fellows Honors student, majoring in interdisciplinary studies and minoring in global poverty & practice. Here, she shares her experiences as a second-year fellow, her honors team project, and her ambitions and reflections as an aspiring architect.
Chris Gould is a junior transfer in the Fung Fellowship Conservation + Tech track studying economics. Here, he shares his experience in the Army, goal to become a CPA and vision to combat the environmental crisis.
November 22, 2021
Monarch butterflies and their close relatives thrive on poisonous milkweed, thanks to genetic mutations that block the effects of the plant’s toxins while allowing the poisons to accumulate in the caterpillar or adult insects as deterrents to hungry predators.
Turns out some of those insect-eating predators evolved similar mutations in order to feast on monarchs.
November 19, 2021
In Berkeley Talks episode 128, a panel of artists, organizers and academics discuss UC Berkeley professor Eric Stanley’s 2021 book, Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable, which interrogates why, in a time when LGBT rights are advancing in the U.S., anti-trans violence continues to rise.
In 2015, as a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz, Juniper Harrower was planning to go back to Costa Rica, where she’d been working in the cloud forests to study patterns of forest regeneration. But then she learned something — something heart-wrenching — that would change the path of her research.
“Scientists had just found out that Joshua trees were really impacted by climate change and could be gone from the National Park within 100 years,” said Harrower. “When I read that, it was such a gut punch.”
At the recent Times Higher Education Teaching Excellence Summit, UC Berkeley Dean of Arts + Humanities Sara Guyer spoke in a session on "The value of critical thinking in a post-pandemic world." Guyer spoke to the importance of critical thinking as a core value at Berkeley, "especially in th
A sacred Jewish object called a mezuzah that is in the collection of UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life will soon be hung in the official Washington, D.C., residence of Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.
Carissa Samuel is a Health + Tech fellow studying Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) with a minor in Dance and Performance studies. Here, she shares more about her personal and professional interests and why she chose the Fung Fellowship.
Alan Munoz is a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a BA in Political Economy. As an alumnus of the Fung Fellowship, having been a part of the program for two years, he shares what he’s been doing after graduation and how the fellowship shaped his professional interests in public health and design.
November 16, 2021
As opponents of critical race theory continue to gather at school boards across the country protesting its use in classrooms, it has become evident that the study of racism in America continues to be seen, by some, as trivial.
For Peter Nelson, stepping foot on the UC Berkeley campus last January as a new faculty member, after 3 1/2 years on the San Diego State University faculty, was a return to his alma mater, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology.
November 11, 2021
Few groups of animals encapsulate the extremes of longevity more than fish. While coral reef pygmy govies survive for less than ten weeks, Greenland sharks can endure more than 500 years. So when a team of biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to explore the genetics of aging, they grabbed their fishing gear.
November 4, 2021
The Government of Japan announces Professor Alan Auerbach as one of two recipients of the 2021 Autumn Conferment of Japanese Decorations.
Alan Auerbach is the Robert D. Burch Professor of Economics and Law Director, Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance.
Berkeley neuroscientist Yang Dan will help conduct an ambitious $9 million project exploring how the circuitry in the brain progressively goes awry in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
November 1, 2021
Alumnus Bobby Lee (Ph.D.
Bathsheba Demuth (Ph.D. '17) has been awarded the John H. Dunning Prize by the AHA for her book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (W.W. Norton, 2019). Demuth is currently an Assistant Professor of History & Environment and Society at Brown University. The John H.
October 26, 2021
For the eighth straight year, UC Berkeley tops the list of the world’s best public universities and remains the fourth-best university overall in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 global universities rankings.
October 21, 2021
UC Berkeley has announced the addition of a new health and wellness minor in the College of Letters & Science. This interdisciplinary minor centers on a three-course core, covering the cultural, psychological, and physiological aspects of health and wellness.
October 18, 2021
Join us on October 20th at 5pm Pacific to welcome poet and Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady to the ARC virtual stage. He will be joined by two emerging poets who have benefitted from his teaching and mentorship in the Cave Canem Black artists collective: Morgan Parker (author of Magical Negro) and Cameron Awkward Rich (author of Dispatch).
“There’s this funny, almost magical aspect of following curiosity-based research, when you just try to understand how the world works,” said professor of physics, Saul Perlmutter, reflecting on the ingenuity that is intrinsic to basic research. “Somehow, that’s made it possible for us to leapfrog all sorts of problems.”
October 8, 2021
In Berkeley Talks episode 125, a panel of leading UC Berkeley experts describe the harms of disinformation and explore potential solutions to its spread, from measures to strengthen old-school local news media to government regulation of tech titans like Facebook and Twitter.
October 6, 2021
In January 2015, 15-year-old Mariana Soto Sanchez woke up one Saturday morning at her home in Ontario, California, with weakness in her hand. Within minutes, the feeling had spread throughout her body. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. By the time they got there, she had total paralysis.
When you clicked to read this story, a band of cells across the top of your brain sent signals down your spine and out to your hand to tell the muscles in your index finger to press down with just the right amount of pressure to activate your mouse or track pad.
“At the end of the day, despite all the trials and tribulations we go through as Latinx students, it’s our communities and identities that ground us as we pursue our research projects,” Ph.D. candidate Hector Callejas said. (Photo by Edgar Castrejón)
October 4, 2021
David Julius, one of today’s winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was a standout even as a graduate student at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and ’80s, according to one of his mentors, 2013 Nobel laureate Randy Schekman.
September 28, 2021
CBS news foreign correspondent Chris Liversay reports the race to succeed Angela Merkel and her legacy as Germany's leader for 16 years.
September 27, 2021
September 23, 2021
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the nation’s largest biomedical research foundation, announced today the appointment of 33 American scientists as investigators, and three of them are from the University of California, Berkeley.
September 22, 2021
September 21, 2021
September 16, 2021
Joe Goode, professor and department chair of UC Berkeley's Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, is also the artistic director of Joe Goode Performance Group. His current work, "Time of Change," was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook.
September 15, 2021
Latinx Heritage Month recognizes, honors, and celebrates the resilience, contributions, and cultures of Latinx, Chicanx, and all Latinx-identified folx from America and with ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain, and Central and South America.
September 9, 2021
Raffaella Margutti, a newly arrived associate professor of astronomy, and Norman Yao, an assistant professor of physics, are among nine winners of the 2022 New Horizons in Physics Prize, awarded every year to early-career scientists by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.
September 8, 2021
Public universities can deliver the most outstanding education to the broadest range of students at the most affordable price. That’s the message of Forbes’ 2021 ranking of top colleges.
For the first time ever on a national ranking of America’s best colleges, a public school, the University of California at Berkeley, is in the No. 1 spot (In 2009 West Point topped our list, but military academies are slightly different animals). Of the top 25 schools in the Forbes ranking, six are public, including three other U.C.s, the University of Michigan and the University of Florida.
September 7, 2021
The Sam Dubal Fellowship in Critical Cultural and Medical Anthropology honors the legacy of Sam Dubal, M.D., Ph.D. ’15, as an anthropologist, activist, medical doctor, professor, and ardent contributor to many vibrant intellectual communities. Dubal’s family generously established a fellowship following his tragic disappearance during a hike on Mt. Rainier in October 2020.
September 2, 2021
Timothy Douglas White, UC Berkeley Professor of Integrative Biology in the College of Letters & Science and Director of the Human Evolution Research Center, received the prestigious International Prize for Biology on August 31.
Five new faculty members at UC Berkeley this fall hail from disparate U.S. states, academic disciplines and personal backgrounds. But they’re already forming a team partnered around one critical global issue — climate equity and environmental justice — as part of six interdisciplinary faculty “cluster hires” underway on campus.
August 19, 2021
From ASUC Student President and political economy major, Chaka Tellem:
Scientists have taken the clearest picture yet of electronic particles that make up a mysterious magnetic state called a quantum spin liquid (QSL). The achievement could facilitate the development of superfast quantum computers and energy-efficient superconductors. The scientists are the first to capture an image of how electrons in a QSL decompose into spin-like particles called spinons and charge-like particles called chargons.
A new Youtube video by Econimate asks whether food labels can help combat obesity.
The video is based on new research by Berkeley Economics professor Nano Barahona and Ph.D. student Cristóbal Otero, Sebastián Otero (Stanford), and Joshua Kim, on the equilibrium effects of food labeling policies.” Based on a new working paper.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWHGwxJwvP4
August 16, 2021
Stephen Miller, a professor emeritus of classics who for nearly 50 years led UC Berkeley’s archaeological excavation in Greece of a site of the ancient Panhellenic Games, died Aug. 11 in a Greek hospital. The Greek Reporter, an international news outlet, reported that 79-year-old Miller died that morning following a hemodialysis treatment.
August 13, 2021
Steven Kahn of Stanford University has been appointed the next dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) in the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science. This move marks a homecoming for Kahn, as he obtained his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley and served as professor of physics and astronomy for 15 years.
August 11, 2021
Leon Litwack, a legendary American historian who influenced generations of students with his energizing teaching and lectures, passed away on Aug. 5. He was 91.
August 10, 2021
One Saturday afternoon a few years ago, Richard Allen was riding Bay Area Rapid Transit between Berkeley and Oakland when the train suddenly stopped. "We've had an alert for an earthquake," the conductor announced. "We're going to assess the situation and decide what to do." Allen, the director of the Seismological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, had spent much of the previous two decades working toward that moment. After a few minutes' orderly wait, the train's journey resumed.
Psychologist Alison Gopnik, a world-renowned expert in child development and author of several popular books including The Scientist in the Crib, The Philosophical Baby, and The Gardener and the Carpenter, has won the 2021 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.
August 5, 2021
How do poisonous animals like the hooded pitohui, a small, drab bird whose orange and black feathers are laced with poison, keep from poisoning themselves? For decades, the best theory has been that the birds and frogs evolved specially adapted sodium channels. But a study in the Journal of General Physiology overturns that notion.
In treetops all around the world, squirrels leap meters through the air to get from branch to branch. In this natural arena the squirrels scurry around to find morsels of food, all the while trying to evade occasional airborne predators such as hawks. But the speed and ease with which they navigate the challenging and unpredictable canopy environment is “spectacular,” says University of California, Berkeley, biomechanics researcher Robert Full. The animals easily land leaps several times the length of their body. And we do not really know how they do it, Full says.
Frequent, rapid testing for COVID-19 is critical to controlling the spread of outbreaks, especially as new, more transmissible variants emerge.
While today’s gold standard COVID-19 diagnostic test, which uses qRT-PCR — quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) — is extremely sensitive, detecting down to one copy of RNA per microliter, it requires specialized equipment, a runtime of several hours and a centralized laboratory facility. As a result, testing typically takes at least one to two days.
August 3, 2021
The Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters & Science received a grant totaling nearly $500K from the UC Office of the President for its proposal, Advancing Faculty Diversity in the Social Sciences. Part of the UC’s systemwide Advancing Faculty Diversity (AFD) program, this funding seeks to improve faculty diversity and enrich teaching, research and service missions among all UC campuses.
July 30, 2021
Linda Kinstler, Ph.D. candidate in the Rhetoric Department, was recently featured in The New York Times Sunday Review. Her essay, "Can Silicon Valley Find God?" is an exploration of the relationship between spirituality and technology, between the digital and the divine. It’s the product of over a year of reporting and dozens of conversations with religious leaders, programmers, and believers of all faiths about how our devices are indeterminately altering our interior lives.
July 28, 2021
When the customs agent at San Francisco International Airport asked Reinhard Genzel why he was visiting America, Genzel had a pretty good answer ready.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m an emeritus professor from UC Berkeley, and this is my first opportunity to return since becoming a Nobel laureate,’” Genzel said. “People nearby started clapping.”
July 26, 2021
Out of 16 Golden Bears in action as the Tokyo Olympics get underway, a dozen have attended UC Berkeley's College of Letters & Science. We are proud to have athletes who majored in the broad range of subjects offered at L&S, from sociology to American Studies to molecular and cell biology. These athletes are representing several different countries and we wish them the best of luck in the coming games. Follow CalBears.com for daily coverage of the Olympics and read on for more detail.
July 21, 2021
Alicia Hayes, UC Berkeley Prestigious Scholarships Manager and Advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Research (OURS), was awarded the 2021 McCray Exemplary Service Award from the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (
July 20, 2021
It’s no secret that UC Berkeley attracts outstanding women from all walks of life, all over the world, to pursue their educational goals. As these women transition from academic to professional careers, having a network of Cal alumnae ready and available for support can be a transformative benefit. In 2019, Jennifer Youstra ‘88 and Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami ‘94 partnered with the Social Sciences division in the College of Letters & Science to formally establish such a network and created the UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Circle (WILC).
July 15, 2021
L&S Student Spotlight: Ethan Willbrand ‘21
Majors: Psychology (Social Sciences Division) and Molecular & Cell Biology (Biological Sciences Division)
July 13, 2021
A decade after scientists discovered that lab rats will rescue a fellow rat in distress, but not a rat they consider an outsider, new UC Berkeley research pinpoints the brain regions that drive rats to prioritize their nearest and dearest in times of crisis. It also suggests humans may share the same neural bias.
The findings, published today, Tuesday, July 13, in the journal eLife, suggest that altruism, whether in rodents or humans, is motivated by social bonding and familiarity rather than sympathy or guilt.
July 7, 2021
In 2019, Anaïs Llorens and Athina Tzovara — one a current, the other a former University of California, Berkeley, postdoctoral scholar at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) — were attending a scientific meeting and pleased that one session, on gender bias in academia, attracted nearly a full house. The problem: The audience of some 300 was almost all women.
Congratulations to PhD student, Bruno Anaya Ortiz, for becoming a Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) Fellow for 2021-2022. Ortiz is a fifth-year student in the Rhetoric Department.
Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, director of the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley Gabriel Zucman writes in a co-authored op-ed in the New York Times:
July 2, 2021
June 24, 2021
L&S Student Spotlight: Nayzak Wali-Ali ‘21
Majors: Ethnic Studies (College of Letters & Science); Legal Studies (Berkeley Law)
June 23, 2021
Before Elaine Kim came to Berkeley as a Ph.D. student in 1968, she was used to being the only Asian person in the room. Kim, who is Korean American, was born in New York and raised in a predominantly working class white suburb of Washington, D.C., the daughter of a migrant farmworker mother and waiter-turned-diplomat father.
Professor Richard Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismology Lab and former chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Science, has been named interim dean for the Division of Mathematical & Physical Sciences in the College of Letters & Scie
June 21, 2021
The Asian American wealth gap, explained in a comic: By Lok Siu, cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley
Most butterflies sport colorful, eye-catching patterns on their wings. But some species, like the glasswing butterfly, use mostly transparent wings to hide in plain sight.
June 18, 2021
UC Berkeley embraces the declaration of Juneteenth as a national holiday.
June 17, 2021
L&S Student Spotlight: Alan Huang '21
Majors: Music (Arts & Humanities Division) and Neurobiology (Biological Sciences Division)
June 16, 2021
Bay Area scientists have captured the real-time electrical activity of a beating heart, using a sheet of graphene to record an optical image — almost like a video camera — of the faint electric fields generated by the rhythmic firing of the heart’s muscle cells.
June 15, 2021
In a Vox article, Professor Gabriel Zucman, Director of the UC Berkeley James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality discusses his research and the $1.8 trillion plan to raise taxes.
The Supreme Court can’t object to levies on their unrealized capital gains, say Berkeley Economics professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman in a Washington Post Op-ed.
June 14, 2021
When Grace Lavery joined UC Berkeley’s English department in 2013, she didn’t know that she would become one of the most followed trans scholars in the world on social media and an outspoken advocate for the trans community.
June 7, 2021
An education program developed at UC Berkeley aimed at stamping out antisemitism on campus is finding a national audience, with help from a $25,000 grant and a video that strives to put a complex history into simpler terms.
June 4, 2021
Here’s news that will shake you to your core: Earth’s solid-iron centre is growing faster on one side than the other. And experts can’t explain why.
June 3, 2021
Pedro De Anda Plascencia recently graduated with two degrees in English and political science from the College of Letters & Science. He is an Achievement Award Program (TAAP) Scholar in UC Berkeley's Class of 2021.
June 2, 2021
Jack Tseng, UC Berkeley assistant professor of integrative biology, explains his research on juvenile T. rexes and what the findings tell us about the lifestyle of the teenage tyrannosaur.
Frank F. Davis ‘55, UC Berkeley alumnus and inventor of a process used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, died of pneumonia on May 19. He was 100.
"Diversity in STEM enhances discovery and provides a catalyst for social change by enabling an equity of experience. Our ultimate goal is to diversify the next generation of STEM leaders and empower them to achieve their academic and professional aspirations. We aim to change the face of science and technology."
June 1, 2021
Congratulations to the Class of 2021! This year’s graduation was one-of-a-kind as more than 6,400 UC Berkeley graduates participated in a five-day-long procession ceremony at the Greek Theatre.
May 26, 2021
Two UC Berkeley faculty members from the College of Letters & Science, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Ellora Derenoncourt, have been named CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars.
How having the ‘wrong’ address almost cost one graduate everything: Aurora Lopez, John Gardner Public Service Fellow, on her path to UC Berkeley
Lopez is going to move to Washington, D.C., where she she plans to pursue a congressional fellowship with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations or work for the U.S. Department of State.
Read the story:
May 24, 2021
In March, UC Berkeley linguist Zachary O’Hagan called Florida Atlantic University anthropologist Gerald Weiss to ask about audio recordings that Weiss had made in the 1960s and ‘70s of Ashaninka people, the largest Indigenous group living in Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
O’Hagan figured they’d discuss their shared passion for the Peruvian Amazon and the need to preserve early records of the region’s languages and cultures.
On May 18th, Chancellor Carol Christ awarded the Berkeley Citation to Bob Jacobsen, Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Letters and Science.
May 19, 2021
Akiko Thomson-Guevera continues to give back to the sports world, years after hanging up her goggles.
In this episode of Berkeley Talks, Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and UC Berkeley alumnus, delivers the keynote address at Berkeley’s commencement on Saturday, May 15.
May 18, 2021
Kim Nalley graduated in May 2021 with a Ph.D. in history from the College of Letters & Science. In her dissertation, “G.I. Jazz,” she looks at African Americans as jazz artists, as well as occupiers, in post-World War II Germany.
May 14, 2021
Julie Thao graduates this year with a bachelor’s in Asian American and Asian diaspora studies from the Department of Ethnic Studies, and a minor in global public health. Here, Thao reflects on the impact of violence and war on her family, and why Hmong American history is ignored.
In the second part of a three-part series, Philip Kan Gotanda, playwright and UC Berkeley professor in the division of Arts & Humanities, discusses how he began to write music during the emerging Asian American movement, which began at Berkeley in the late 1960s. And how, after his music career didn’t take off as he’d hoped, he went to law school, where he wrote his first play. Now, he’s one of the most prolific playwrights of Asian American-themed work in the United States.
May 12, 2021
Graduating CalNerds scholar Jose Magana, a senior studying geophysics and seismology in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department, was uprooted from his life in El Salvador and forced to flee his country as an undocumented refugee.
May 11, 2021
Anna Sharpe has never done something because it was easy. Quite the opposite. If it’s hard — if it’ll take all she’s got, if it’ll leave her in pieces, she’s interested. Because it shows that it means something. That it matters.
In the face of daunting global challenges, such as climate change and a catastrophic pandemic, it is evident that the world urgently needs science-based solutions to tackle society’s greatest problems.
Images captured by two different telescopes are showing our solar system's largest planet in a new light.
May 7, 2021
As the country continues to confront a history of racial injustice, deeply rooted in the legacy of slavery and systemic racism, today, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed five individuals to serve on the newly formed Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The formation of this task force was made possible by the Governor’s signing of AB 3121, authored by then-Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), which established a nine-member task force to inform Californians about slavery and explore ways the state might provide reparations.
May 6, 2021
On Tuesday, officials in Washington state flipped the switch that enables earthquake early warnings to be disseminated to residents of the state. Washington joins California and Oregon, where such warnings are already enabled, in making “ShakeAlert,” a high-tech warning system that can provide notice seconds before the ground starts shaking, a reality for more than 50 million Americans.
The fundamental idea was out there: Cosmologists could learn the secrets of the early universe if only they found a way to decipher a riddle in the Cosmic Microwave Background. In 1997, two papers published back to back in Physical Review Letters showed them how.
Marc Kamionkowski, Uroš Seljak, and Matias Zaldarriaga are the recipients of the 2021 Gruber Cosmology Prize for their authorship of those papers as well as for numerous other contributions to cosmology since the mid-1990s.
May 5, 2021
On the evening of March 16, 2021, a man opened fire in three Atlanta-area businesses and killed eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent. In response to those tragic shootings, “#StopAsianHate” and “#AsiansAreHumansToo” became all too familiar refrains as thousands across the country protested the rising tide of anti-Asian bias and violence. Gene Luen Yang, a renowned cartoonist, turned to his pen and paper and used the medium of comics to channel his own thoughts and emotions.
May 4, 2021
Renowned evolutionary biologist David Wake, the world’s leading expert on salamanders and among the first to warn of a precipitous decline in frog, salamander and other amphibian populations worldwide, died peacefully at his home in Oakland, California, on April 29.
The professor emeritus of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and former director of the campus’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) was 84.
The official “new normal” for the U.S. climate is warmer than ever before — and the changes are ominous for California, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released its new climate averages, based on the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020. The averages, known as “climate normals,” are updated every 10 years, and they show most of the country, including California, heating up.
Republished from BCSR:
As part of our series spotlighting UC Berkeley graduate student research, BCSR recently had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Lim, a PhD Candidate in Ethnic Studies studying Korean diaspora in the Americas. She is completing a dissertation entitled “Itinerant Belonging: Korean Transnational Migration to and from Mexico.” Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming in The Journal of Asian American Studies and Verge: Studies in Global Asias.
May 3, 2021
On April 19, 2021, Talmadge King, Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, issued special commendations to 21 UC Berkeley undergraduate students who made exceptional contributions to their COVID response in 2020-2021. As part of UCSF’s service-learning program, the Patient Support Corps, students received training to serve as additional patient navigators on their COVID hotline. Students connected with callers to assist them with appropriate strategies for testing, tracing, treatment, return-to-work, and vaccination.
April 29, 2021
The European house mouse has invaded nearly every corner of the Americas since it was introduced by colonizers a few hundred years ago, and now lives practically everywhere humans store their food.
Yet in that relatively short time span — 400 to 600 mouse generations — populations on the East and West Coasts have changed their body size and nest building behavior in nearly identical ways to adapt to similar environmental conditions, according to a new study by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley.
April 28, 2021
Gabriel Zucman, associate professor of economics at the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science, associate professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, and director of the James M. and Cathleen D.
April 26, 2021
David Card, an economist in the College of Letters & Science's Social Sciences Division, was one of three UC Berkeley faculty members elected to join the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a 158-year-old institution whose membership recognizes distinguished achievements in original research.
Paul Rabinow, a world-renowned anthropologist, theorist and interlocutor of French philosopher Michel Foucault, his former comrade, died from cancer at his home in Berkeley on April 6. He was 76.
A professor emeritus of anthropology, Rabinow joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1978 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He retired in 2019.
April 23, 2021
A Southern California high school junior has built a low-cost seismometer device that delivers earthquake early warnings for homes and businesses. Costing less than $100 for her to make today, the seismometer could someday be a regular household safety device akin to a smart smoke detector, says its inventor Vivien He. She began reading about earthquake early warning and building a giant three-ring binder of highlighted papers, including many from SSA journals. One of her favorite researchers in the field was Richard M. Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismology Lab.
April 22, 2021
In a recent Fiat Vox podcast, Anne Brice interviewed Berkeley MFA student Fred DeWitt. DeWitt, 61, shares in his own words what the Black Panthers meant to him as a young boy growing up in the Bay Area, how Barack Obama’s election as president inspired him to go back to school to study art, and the complicated nature of honoring the lives of people who never wanted to be remembered for their deaths. His MFA show will be at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) in June.
Six UC Berkeley faculty members and top scholars have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), a 241-year-old organization honoring the country’s most accomplished artists, scholars, scientists and leaders who help solve the world’s most urgent challenges.
The blood-brain barrier deteriorates with aging, but animal studies indicate repairs can make old brains look young again.
April 21, 2021
NPR's Forum spoke to Nikki Jones, professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley, author of "The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption," about the results of the Derek Chauvin trial and the meaning of justice in America.
April 19, 2021
How many Tyrannosaurus rexes roamed North America during the Cretaceous period?
That’s a question Charles Marshall pestered his paleontologist colleagues with for years until he finally teamed up with his students to find an answer.
April 16, 2021
Professor Larry Hyman has been awarded the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms)
Hyman’s award recognizes his extraordinary contributions to strengthening French and U.S. collaboration as longtime Director of the France-Berkeley Fund.
April 15, 2021
On a solemn late-summer afternoon in 2001, just a few days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, UC Berkeley student body president Wally Adeyemo stood with campus leaders on the steps of Doe Library and offered consolation and hope to the grief-stricken campus community.
Jenny Kwon, his friend since the early days of their freshman year, was among the 12,000 people on Memorial Glade that day, listening to insights that Adeyemo had drawn from the Bible and from history, and to his eloquent appealthat they should rise above anger and the desire for retribution.
Sara Guyer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been appointed the next dean of Arts and Humanities in the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science.
April 14, 2021
On April 8, 2021, Guggenheim Fellowships were awarded to four UC Berkeley professors amongst a diverse group of 184 artists, scholars, and scientists. These prestigious fellowships acknowledge those with notable achievements and an exceptional capacity for productive scholarship. Two of this year’s recipients are faculty members in the College of Letters and Science:
April 8, 2021
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Chair of the Berkeley Division of the Senate and Professor of Demography and Sociology, has been named the next executive dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science (L&S).
April 7, 2021
Robert Middlekauff, a prolific scholar of early American history who held several top leadership positions at UC Berkeley, died from complications of a stroke on March 10 at his home in Pleasanton, California. He was 91.
UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science received national recognition in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate programs. English, History, and Sociology all received #1 rankings, underlining the exceptional quality and depth of graduate education at L&S, and over thirty L&S programs and specialties earned top ten rankings this year.
April 6, 2021
On April 12, UC Berkeley will host: Race and Responsibility: A Conversation on Black-Jewish Relations and the Fight for Equal Justice
Tina (‘91, East Asian Languages and Economics) and David Walton (‘86, JD in Law) both graduated from UC Berkeley, though they only first met after their graduation, when they were both living in Seattle. Their marriage led them first to Hong Kong, and eventually to their permanent home in Singapore. There, David is the Deputy Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for BOC Aviation and Tina is a published author.
April 5, 2021
How are the historical experiences of the Black and Jewish communities at once distinct and interconnected? Should we see efforts to combat racism and antisemitism as separate struggles? What are African Americans’ and Jews’ responsibilities to one another in America’s current racial reckoning? In this conversation, Eric K.
March 30, 2021
In 2014, two years after her Nobel Prize-winning invention of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, Jennifer Doudna thought the technology was mature enough to tackle a cure for a devastating hereditary disorder, sickle cell disease, that afflicts millions of people around the world, most of them of African descent. Mobilizing colleagues in the then-new Innovative Genome Institute (IGI) — a joint research collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Francisco — they sought to repair the single mutation that makes red blood cells warp and clog arteries, causing
March 25, 2021
Please join us on April 1 at 5pm PDT for a panel discussion on rising anti-Asian violence in America. This timely panel will consider both the long history of anti-Asian racism and present-day patterns linked to the pandemic and to cultural anxieties about Asian ascendancy and Western decline.
March 24, 2021
Michael Quigley ’80 joined the Charter Hill Society in 2014 and is the Honorary Chair for South Korea. We asked him about his path at Cal and about how the events of 2020 have affected his work at Kim & Chang, one of the world’s top 100 law firms.
March 19, 2021
The College of Letters and Science is delighted to announce the launch of its redesigned website:ls.berkeley.edu
March 18, 2021
March 12, 2021
Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, a novelist, poet, and activist, spoke with Ra Malika Imhotep, a Ph.D. candidate in African diaspora studies at UC Berkeley, and Darieck Scott, a professor in Berkeley’s Department of African American Studies, as part of the department’s spring 2021 Critical Conversations series.
March 8, 2021
Determining how rapidly the universe is expanding is key to understanding our cosmic fate, but with more precise data has come a conundrum: Estimates based on measurements within our local universe don’t agree with extrapolations from the era shortly after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
February 23, 2021
Today, Lightfoot (a UC Berkeley anthropology professor), 67, is an influential and endearing figure in Indigenous archaeology, a subfield of anthropology that eschews cultural imperialism and blends tribal perspectives, customs and collaboration into scholarship. With precision technology that can detect what’s beneath the ground and prevent unnecessary digging — including ground-penetrating radar, satellite imagery, magnetometry and light detection and ranging sensors — the field is, in many ways, an antithesis to anthropology’s grave-plundering past.
UC Berkeley Psychology Professor Alison Gopnik receives 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Psychological Science. The Association’s Highest Honors Recognize Outstanding Contributions to Science. Read more here: lscience.org/news/2021-lifetime-achievement-awards.html
February 22, 2021
The latest star data from the Gaia space observatory has for the first time allowed astronomers to generate a massive 3D atlas of widely separated binary stars within about 3,000 light years of Earth — 1.3 million of them.
February 16, 2021
Among the Berkeley experts who have been appointed to the Biden administration, we are proud to say that six are alumni from the College of Letters & Science. They majored in fields including political science, history, Latin American Studies, mathematics, French, and economics, and from these varied starting points, they each blazed a trail to national service.
February 4, 2021
Berkeley alum Scott McDonald believes in workplace diversity, and he’s put time, effort, and money behind that conviction. A ’73 sociology grad, Scott has had a long and successful career in advertising at leading global media companies like Time Warner and Conde Nast.
In the arid Mojave Desert, small burrowing mammals like the cactus mouse, the kangaroo rat and the white-tailed antelope squirrel are weathering the hotter, drier conditions triggered by climate change much better than their winged counterparts, finds a new study published today in Science.
January 27, 2021
Ever feel like you were in over your head during math class? Unfortunately, this seems to be a familiar sensation for incoming students at Berkeley, where most undergraduates take a course in mathematics. Beyond being unprepared to understand some core concepts, students who struggle through a gateway math course often stop studying a scientific or technical field.
January 20, 2021
With a visionary investment connecting life sciences to entrepreneurship, Mark and Stephanie Robinson are fast tracking innovation at UC Berkeley. The Robinsons have given a total of $10 million to support bio-entrepreneurship at Berkeley, creating resources for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty that leverage our university’s edge in basic science research while preparing the next generation of business leaders.
December 31, 2020
Nobody believes it was ET phoning, but radio astronomers admit they don’t have an explanation yet for a beam of radio waves that apparently came from the direction of the star Proxima Centauri.
December 1, 2020
UC Berkeley African American Studies professor Nikki Jones has won the 2020 Michael J. Hindelang Award. The national honor given by the American Society of Criminology (ASC), recognizes a book published within the past three years that makes the most outstanding contribution to research in criminology.
November 18, 2020
The names of the University of California, Berkeley’s LeConte Hall and Barrows Hall will be removed, campus officials announced today. The decision, capping a formal review process, was made in response to growing awareness of the controversial legacies of the halls’ namesakes — all of them early, prominent members of the UC faculty — that clash with UC Berkeley’s mission and values.
November 17, 2020
Cara Brook, a UC Berkeley researcher whose work on bat viruses has taken on new urgency with the rise of COVID-19, is one of five recipients of this year’s L’Oréal For Women in Science fellowships.
November 12, 2020
Given that everything in the universe reduces to particles, a question presents itself: What are particles?
The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) is pleased to announce that Lance Kriegsfeld, Yang Dan, and Daniela Kaufer have won the 2020 Radical Ideas in Brain Science Challenge for their team project to investigate mechanisms underlying cognitive decline. The Challenge is designed to kick-start new multi-disciplinary collaborations that create breakthroughs in understanding the brain and mind in health and disease.
October 30, 2020
Aware of the vital importance of exemplary graduate students in life sciences research, the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation has initiated a scholarship program to provide funding for new Ph.D. students. But its efforts go far beyond simple, across-the-board scholarship support. Believing that all qualified applicants should be included in the life sciences enterprise, the foundation is focusing on two groups that do not traditionally garner the strongest financial support — international students and women. The Curci Foundation Ph.D.
October 23, 2020
With a visionary investment connecting life sciences to entrepreneurship, Mark and Stephanie Robinson are fast tracking innovation at UC Berkeley. The Robinsons have given a total of $10 million to support bio-entrepreneurship at Berkeley, creating resources for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty that leverage our university’s edge in basic science research while preparing the next generation of business leaders.
October 7, 2020
University of California, Berkeley, biochemist Jennifer Doudna today won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing it with colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier for the co-development of CRISPR-Cas9, a genome editing breakthrough that has revolutionized biomedicine.
October 6, 2020
Polina Lishko, a Ukrainian-born physiologist whose work at the University of California, Berkeley, has already led to the development of promising new non-hormonal contraceptives for women and could lead to male or unisex contraceptives, has been chosen to receive a 2020 MacArthur “genius” Award.
Reinhard Genzel, a professor emeritus of physics and of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, will share half the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics with UCLA professor Andrea Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.”
July 13, 2020
Sarah Stanley normally researches tuberculosis in her lab at UC Berkeley. But when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all normal research operations on campus, she quickly utilized her own discretionary funds to mobilize her lab and student researchers to study the SARS-CoV-2 live virus.
May 19, 2020
Thanks to a rapid funding program thrown together by wealthy entrepreneurs barely six weeks ago, seven COVID-19 research projects at the University of California, Berkeley, are getting an infusion of cash — $2.2 million in all — that could turn up new diagnostics and potential treatments for the infection within months.
April 23, 2020
Nine UC Berkeley faculty members from a wide range of disciplines have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), a 240-year-old organization honoring the country’s most accomplished artists, scholars, scientists and leaders.
March 30, 2020
As doctors around the country scramble to diagnose cases of COVID-19, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) are creating from scratch a diagnostic lab with the capability to process more than 1,000 patient samples per day.
December 16, 2019
Sometimes, a blockbuster discovery is just too good to be true. UC Berkeley graduate student astronomer Kareem El-Badry knows that all too well — he just shot one down.