News

News

May 11, 2021

Berkeley News

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.

Berkeley News

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.

CNN

Images captured by two different telescopes are showing our solar system's largest planet in a new light.

The Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope have captured Jupiter in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light, revealing striking atmospheric features of the gas giant in detail. These include superstorms, massive cyclones and, of course, the Great Red Spot -- the centuries-long storm in Jupiter's atmosphere so large it could swallow Earth.

May 7, 2021

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

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

The Washington Post

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.

Gruber Foundation

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

San Francisco Chronicle

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.

Berkeley News

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.

BCSR

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

Berkeley News

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, L&S Economics Professor, named 2021 Carnegie FellowGabriel 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

Berkeley News

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.

Berkeley News

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.

April 23, 2021

Phys.org

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

Scientific American

The blood-brain barrier deteriorates with aging, but animal studies indicate repairs can make old brains look young again.

Berkeley News

L&S Faculty Electees into American Academy of Arts and SciencesSix 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.

Berkeley News

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.

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

Berkeley News

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

France-Berkeley Fund Blog

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

Headshot of Sara Guyer, New Dean of UC Berkeley's Division of Arts and HumanitiesSara 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.

Berkeley News

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 appeal that they should rise above anger and the desire for retribution.

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.

April 8, 2021

April 7, 2021

Berkeley News

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

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

Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion

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

Berkeley News

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.

Read the interview

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

Berkeley News
Like millions of people around the world, David Shuster and his 7-year-old daughter cheered wildly as the Perseverance rover was lowered by sky crane to the Martian surface on Feb. 18 to start years of exploration. But for him and a subset of the Mars 2020 science team, true gratification will be delayed.

March 12, 2021

Berkeley News

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

Berkeley News

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

APS

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

Berkeley News

The College of Letters and Science congratulates Professor Benjamin Schoefer and Dmitry Taubinsky on receiving the 2021 Sloan Fellowship. Read the full article here: https://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/five-young-scholars-named-sloan-research-fellows/

Berkeley News

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.

February 22, 2021

Berkeley News

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 News

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.

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.

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

New York Times

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

Berkeley News

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

Berkeley News

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

Quanta Magazine

Given that everything in the universe reduces to particles, a question presents itself: What are particles?

Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

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

Berkeley News

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

Berkeley News

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.”

Berkeley News

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.

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

Berkeley News

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

Berkeley News

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

Berkeley News

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.