Check out some great videos – lectures, short stories, inspiration, featured in the Science at Cal @Home newsletter.
The Crowd and the Cloud is a documentary series showcasing the power of Citizen Science in the Digital Age. This four-part series takes viewers on a global tour of the projects and people on the front lines of citizen science and crowdsourcing.
Smartphones, computers and mobile technology are enabling regular citizens to become part of a 21st century way of doing science. By observing their environments, monitoring neighborhoods, collecting information about the world and the things they care about, so-called “citizen scientists” are helping professional scientists to advance knowledge while speeding up new discoveries and innovations.
The results are improving health and welfare, assisting in wildlife conservation, and giving communities the power to create needed change and help themselves.
David Anderson is co-creator of SETI@home, a researcher at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, and the Director of BOINC, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. David is a computer scientist by trade, and mathematician by training, who’s had a decades long interest in distributed computing and volunteer science.
SETI@home is in hibernation and is no longer distributing tasks. The SETI@home message boards will continue to operate, and the team will continue working on the back-end data analysis.
Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic disease, is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. Currently SOD is found in the wildlands of 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt. While patchy in distribution, with each passing year, the swath of infection continues to become more contiguous.
SOD-blitzes inform and educate the community about Sudden Oak Death, get locals involved in detecting the disease, and produce detailed local maps of disease distribution. The map can then be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to justify proactive management.
Interested in participating in a SOD-Blitz or catching up on the results in your area? Learn more:
On January 15, 2006, the Stardust spacecraft’s sample return capsule parachuted gently onto the Utah desert. Nestled within the capsule were precious particles collected during Stardust’s dramatic encounter with comet Wild 2 in January of 2004; and something else, even rarer and no less precious: tiny particles of interstellar dust that originated in distant stars, light-years away. They are the first such contemporary interstellar dust particles ever collected in space and returned to Earth for study.
Before they can be studied, though, these tiny interstellar grains have to be found by examining scanning microscope images of the entire Stardust interstellar collector. The Stardust team at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab is asking for help from talented volunteers from all over the world to find more particles.
MyShake is a citizen science project developed at the UC Berkeley Seismology lab which brings users together to build a global earthquake early warning network. The app (for both iOS and Android) keeps you informed about earthquakes and monitors for them using data from your phone’s sensors.
The goal of MyShake is to build a worldwide earthquake early warning network so that communities can reduce the impact of earthquakes. Since MyShake uses smartphones as earthquake sensors, it can be used everywhere – even in countries without access to traditional seismic technology. MyShake collects motion data from your phone’s sensors and uses a patented neural network to determine whether that motion fits the model of an earthquake.
Science of Awe
How is butterfly color created? In this lecture, PhD Candidate Aaron Pomerantz takes us on a journey through the Amazon rainforest, where interesting observations about butterfly color and patterns lead him to use imaging and genetics to decode butterfly color. Aaron’s Website: NextGenScientist
Happy Earth Day!
UC Berkeley’s resident peregrine falcons, Annie and Grinnell, hatched three new chicks this past weekend.
Follow their progress with live cameras high above campus on the balcony of the Campanile.
You can also catch up with fun falcon facts with a archived Q&A from hatch day.
Almost 60 years ago, Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring ignited an environmental movement as it highlighted the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment.
Hard hit by the impact of the pesticide DDT
on their population, once-endangered peregrine falcons are making a comeback. UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology played a key role in proving that DDT had effects on eggshell formation.
The Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) at UC Berkeley cultivates a collaborative space to strengthen the collective effectiveness of the sustainability community and provides resources for students to actualize their visions of a more equitable, socially just, and resilient future.
Find out more about SERC projects around campus
The mission of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry is to bring about a generational transformation toward the design and use of inherently safer chemicals and materials.
Embedding the principles of green chemistry into science, markets and public policy will provide the foundation for safeguarding human health and ecosystems and provide a cornerstone for a sustainable, clean energy economy.
Several UC Berkeley professors contributed to a United Nations international climate change organization that is shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
Dr Inez Fung, a professor of atmospheric science and co-director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of the Environment, was among more than 2,000 scientists worldwide who have conducted groundbreaking research for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Innovation with Engineering
Student InnovationsDesigners and builders, mentors and educators–these students are our future leaders in engineering. Here’s a sampling of their extraordinary work…
Reuben (Rube) Garrett Lucius Goldberg (1883 – 1970)
Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The cartoons led to the expression ” Rube Goldberg machines ” to describe similar gadgets and processes.
Goldberg’s father was a San Francisco police and fire commissioner who encouraged the young Reuben to pursue a career in engineering. Rube graduated from UC Berkeley in 1904 with a degree in Engineering and was hired by the city of San Francisco as an engineer for the Water and Sewers Department. After six months, he resigned his position with the city to join the San Francisco Chronicle as a cartoonist.
The strip that brought him lasting fame was The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorganzola Butts, A.K. , which ran in Collier’s Weekly from January 26, 1929 to December 26, 1931. In that series, Goldberg drew labeled schematics of the comically intricate “inventions” that would later bear his name . [ Wikipedia ]
Rube Goldberg returns and wackiness ensues!
Back in 2010, Berkeley Engineering students held a contest to find the answer to a question we’re all asking today: What’s the best device for dispensing a dollop of hand sanitizer?
At Berkeley, it was a 63-step Rube- Goldberg machine that also prompts the famous Bellagio fountain to erupt, Evel Knievel to crash his motorcycle and a house of cards to spring up before your eyes.
The magic and mayhem were part of a winning, Las Vegas–themed contraption built by a team of engineering students for Berkeley’s first-ever Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
Want a fun STEM/STEAM activity to do at home for all ages? Build a Rube Goldberg Machine in 10-20 steps to drop a bar of soap into someone’s hands.
Learn more about the contest, find tips for building, and check out many more cartoons of contraptions at RubeGoldberg.com
If you build one, share it with Science at Cal too!
Art + Science
Art + Science 2014
What’s the science behind these intriguing images? Find out here.
Bull.Miletic are visual artists Synne T. Bull (Norway) and Dragan Miletic (USA, b. Yugoslavia). Bull.Miletic were the inaugural Art + Science Artists-in-Residence at UC Berkeley, co-sponsored by the Arts Research Center and the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society. Their work was featured at Science at Cal’s Vision + Light event in 2017, presented in partnership with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Zoom Blue DotThe production of this work was generously supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Research Center and Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society at the University of California, Berkeley. The work was realized during a semester-long Arts + Science Residency at UC Berkeley in collaboration with Holly L. Aaron at the Molecular Imaging Center; Danielle Jorgens at the Electron Microscopy Lab; Vasfi Burak Ozdol at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Christopher Myers at CITRIS Invention Lab. bull.miletic.info
Julia Morgan Collection at the College of Environmental Design 2014 AIA HONOR AWARDS Gold Medal: Julia MorganJulia Morgan (1872-1957) Julia Morgan was born in Oakland, CA. She graduated from the College of Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where she also studied drawing with architect Bernard Maybeck. Following her graduation in 1894, with Maybeck’s encouragement, Morgan went to Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in 1901, became the first woman to graduate in architecture. Returning to the Bay Area, she worked for John Galen Howard, the UC Berkeley campus architect and became the first woman in California to earn her architectural license, opening her San Francisco office in 1905.
Bernie Peyton is a wildlife biologist and origami artist who uses his art to raise awareness for environmental and conservation causes. He is a passionate activist, artist, and teacher. “I am encouraged that origami has a bright place in that future, as a reliever of stress, a means to means to create understanding between cultures, and as a catalyst for solutions such as foldable cheap housing. When I teach a simple origami figure I am also teaching a creative way to think and solve problems. Designing something out of a single uncut square has taught me how to think outside the box and greatly contributed to my ability to ask better research questions as a scientist. Just maybe someone I have introduced to origami will take that knowledge to make a positive difference.” Download diagrams for folding some of his animal designs berniepeyton.comOrigami with Bernie Peyton
March 31 – Womens’ History
A Singularly Unfeminine Profession recounts Gaillard’s experiences as a woman in a very male-dominated field, while tracing the development of the Standard Model as she witnessed it and participated in it.In 1981 Mary K Gaillard became the first woman on the physics faculty at the University of California at Berkeley. Her career as a theoretical physicist spanned the period from the inception — in the late 1960s and early 1970s — of what is now known as the Standard Model of particle physics and its experimental confirmation, culminating with the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012. Her book
The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science is a short documentary film and photography series that demonstrates the competencies and passions of female paleontologists and how this unfair, gendered stereotype can be easily diminished with the donning of a beard. How, with some well-placed facial hair, any female scientist can be perceived as equally rugged, tough and determined. Women don beards to highlight gender bias in science Also! Don’t miss Dr. Lisa White from the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology who is featured in the PBS NOVA series Making North America
Berkeley Math Circle, and an expert in the combinatorial enumeration of permutations with forbidden patterns.Zvezdelina Entcheva Stankova is a professor of mathematics at Mills College and a teaching professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the founder of the
Girls Garage, a rigorous STEM program for girls. She works alongside youth ages 9-18 to co-design and build full-scale public architecture projects with a civic purpose.Emily Pilloton is a Lecturer in the College of Environmental Design, and is a designer, builder, educator, and founder of the nonprofit Project H Design and
InterACT Lab, where they focus on algorithms for human-robot interaction — algorithms that move beyond the robot’s function in isolation, and generate robot behavior that also accounts for interaction and coordination with end-users.Anca Dragan is an Assistant Professor in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley. Her goal is to enable robots to work with, around, and in support of people. She runs the
Need a quick dose of some cool and tiny natural history? Check out Deep Look, a video series created by KQED. These selections feature Berkeley researchers.KQED Deep Look: UC Berkeley
Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus
There’s a mysterious dark substance that appears to be causing the accelerated expansion of the universe. This lecture features Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley.Keck Observatory talk, Feb 2019