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Pac-Man-like CRISPR enzymes have potential for disease diagnostics

May 4, 2017

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have described 10 new CRISPR enzymes that, once activated, behave like Pac-Man to chew up RNA in a way that could be used as sensitive detectors of infectious viruses.

Kelly Swanson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics, will be Berkeley's champion in UC Grand Slam

May 4, 2017

May 4th is the Grad Slam, UC’s system-wide contest that challenges graduate students to explain their research in three jargon-free minutes. All of the first place champions from each UC campus face off to compete for the UC-wide trophy and gain the attention of industry, academic, media, and government leaders.

Pioneering radio astronomer Harold Weaver dies at age 99

May 3, 2017

Harold Francis Weaver, a pioneer of radio astronomy who discovered the first microwave laser, or maser, in space, passed away peacefully in his Kensington, California, home on April 26 at the age of 99.

Three faculty, including renowned physicist, named to the American Philosophical Society

May 2, 2017

Three UC Berkeley professors, including John Clarke, have been honored with election to the American Philosophical Society. 

L&S Inaugural Gala Dinner Celebrates (Almost) 150 Years of Excellence in the Liberal Arts

On April 26 more than one hundred friends of the College of Letters & Science gathered at the St. Francis Yacht Club to celebrate almost 150 years of excellence in the liberal arts at Berkeley. UC President Janet Napolitano welcomed the incoming Chancellor of UC Berkeley, Carol Christ, currently Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Over dinner guests heard a speech entitled, 'How Cal Prepared Me for Putin, Pablo Escobar, and Taylor Swift,' about the liberal arts in action from Vanity Fair Senior Correspondent and L&S alumna Maureen Orth '64.

Walter Alvarez: A geologist ponders the improbability of life

April 25, 2017

His new book, A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves, was inspired by a course Alvarez taught for five years, until his retirement in 2011, called “Big History,” in which he approached human history from a geologic and ultimately cosmic perspective, stretching back to the universe’s origin 13.8 billion years ago. The book is his attempt to make the scientific background of big history accessible to those without a science background, specifically historians and other humanists, through personal stories.

Berkeley Lab astrophysicists develop novel method for finding gravitationally lensed Type 1a supernovae

April 21, 2017

With the help of an automated supernova-hunting pipeline and a galaxy sitting 2 billion light years away from Earth that’s acting as a “magnifying glass,’’ astronomers have captured multiple images of a Type Ia supernova—the brilliant explosion of a star—appearing in four different locations on the sky. So far this is the only Type Ia discovered that has exhibited this effect.

UC appeals U.S. patent board decision on CRISPR-Cas9

April 13, 2017

The University of California, the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively UC) on Wednesday, April 12, filed an appeal to overturn a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that terminated the interference between a UC patent application for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology and the patent applications and issued patents of the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Watch the building of the Simons Observatory! (Video)

April 14, 2017

The Eternal Sky, a short film about building the Simons Observatory, highlights Berkeley research as well as the people behind the development and construction of this world class research facility.

West Coast rollout of updated ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warning system

April 12, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey and its university, state and private partners this week announced the rollout of the latest version of the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system, bringing it to all West Coast states.