Divisions & Units - Social Sciences

Offbeat brain rhythms during sleep make older adults forget

December 14, 2017
Like swinging a tennis racket during a ball toss to serve an ace, slow and speedy brainwaves during deep sleep must sync up at exactly the right moment to hit the save button on new memories, according to new UC Berkeley research. While these brain rhythms, occurring hundreds of times a night, move in perfect lockstep in young adults, findings published today in the journal Neuron show that, in old age, slow waves during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep fail to make timely contact with speedy electrical bursts known as “spindles.”

NEH grants support six L&S humanities projects

December 13, 2017

The National Endowment for the Humanities today announced $12.8 million in financial support for humanities research across the country, including funding for College of Letters & Science projects that deal with the works of Herman Melville, the rise of the Chinese meritocracy, the preservation of rare musical instruments, slave conspiracies, the relationship of Mexican women to the Catholic church and politics and the Nazi-era theft of music.

For aspiring triple major, classical piano is a way of life

December 11, 2017
Christopher Richardson has been playing the piano since he was 8 years old. He’s a sophomore at UC Berkeley, and intends to triple major in music, economics and molecular and cell biology. He’s on the pre-med track and is considering going into oncology.

OWLs provide welcome nest for re-entry students

December 8, 2017
UC Berkeley undergraduates Kelly Richeson and Gina Niceforo are proud to be Bears. But the 56-year-old retired Ventura County firefighter and the 37-year-old former South Lake Tahoe waitress are equally glad to be OWLs. They’re members of Older Wiser Learners (OWLs), a support group on campus that’s gaining popularity with Berkeley’s 1,660-plus undergraduate re-entry students, who are defined as age 25 and older and having had at least a five-year absence from college.

War Footing: A Cal Expert's Take on the North Korea Situation

November 27, 2017
Evaluating the objective risk of war in North Korea is difficult, but UC Berkeley political science professor Steven Weber has a better vantage on the situation than most.

Six UC Berkeley faculty elected AAAS fellows

November 20, 2017
Six UC Berkeley scientists are among the 396 newest fellows elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for “advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Students in 'la diaspora' take Puerto Rico relief efforts into own hands

November 7, 2017
On Saturday, L&S undergraduate Pablo Paredes will pack five suitcases full of 340 pounds of supplies — everything from solar kits and water filters to mosquito netting and cortisone cream — and check them on a flight to Puerto Rico. Once he arrives, he’ll load the suitcases into his uncle’s beat-up car and drive them into the mountains along winding roads to Casa Pueblo, a community-based relief organization in Adjuntas dedicated to supporting victims of Hurricane Maria.

Berkeley economist leads petition drive to fight pervasive misogyny

October 31, 2017
A senior thesis by a UC Berkeley student raised eyebrows recently when the New York Times shared her findings that a popular website for those posting and seeking jobs in economics was rife with sexist and crude terminology. And Alice Wu’s work continues to reverberate, following word last week that more than 1,000 economics professors, lecturers and graduate student instructors across the country who teach economics signed a petition urging the American Economic Association (AEA) to institute a fact-based and moderated wiki to provide up-to-the-minute job market information.

Everything you need to know about sleep, but are too tired to ask

October 17, 2017
Ask neuroscientist Matthew Walker, author of the new book, Why We Sleep, about the downside of pulling an all-nighter, and he’ll rattle off a list of ill effects that range from memory loss and a compromised immune system to junk food cravings and wild mood swings.

Sociologist Neil Smelser, campus leader and Free Speech Movement diplomat, dies at 87

October 12, 2017
Neil Smelser, a distinguished sociologist and higher education leader who navigated the swells of student uprisings during the exhilarating and tumultuous 1960s, died peacefully on Oct. 2 at his home in Berkeley. He was 87.