Science at Cal at Home


Check out some great videos – lectures, short stories, inspiration, featured in the Science at Cal @Home newsletter.

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.
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).

The more that robots ingrain themselves into our everyday lives, the more we’re forced to examine ourselves as people. At TEDxBerkeley, Ken Goldberg shares four very human lessons that he’s learned from working with robots.

EnableTech is a student organization that designs and builds assistive technology for people with disabilities. Our goal is for engineering and design students to collaborate with need-knowers, who either have a disability or are very familiar with a disability. We provide teams with space, materials, and other resources to turn their idea into a solution that could significantly improve the lives of many people.

Student Innovations

Designers 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
If you build one, share it with Science at Cal too!
Higgs Boson at Large Hadron Collider
Art + Science 2014
What’s the science behind these intriguing images? Find out here.

“Vision & Light: Extending the Senses,” was presented in partnership with Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute. This stunning show featured works created by Berkeley artists and scientists.

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.

Dr. Javier A. Ceja-Navarro

Dr. Javier Ceja-Navarro is interested in host-microbe associations in non-model arthropods and the characterization of multitrophic interactions in soil. His hobbies include beekeeping, and scientific illustration using watercolor. He uses his illustrations and animations to great effect to share the fascinating world of insects and micro-organisms.

Kate Nichols synthesizes nanoparticles to mimic structurally colored animals, grows artificial skin from microorganisms, and makes her own paints, following fifteenth-century recipes. The long tradition of painters as material innovators inspired Nichols to become the first artist-in-residence in the Alivisatos Lab, a nanoscience laboratory at UC Berkeley. In spring 2019, she was an artist-in-residence at Stochastic Labs and the Innovative Genomics Institute.

For the past 16 years, Jim Breen, the highly-skilled artisan, has created glass apparatuses and other vessels for Berkeley researchers — not just those in chemistry, but in engineering, earth and planetary science, physics and other fields.

Julia 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.

Julia Morgan Collection at the College of Environmental Design

2014 AIA HONOR AWARDS Gold Medal: Julia Morgan

Origami with Bernie Peyton

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

Berkeley Arts + Design

The arts and design fields encourage risk and creativity; teach collaboration and compassion; join the conceptual with the pragmatic; bring international cultures into bracing dialogue.

Design animates all corners of our campus and is part of many interdisciplinary projects in research, education, and public engagement.

You can access the majority of Arts + Design lectures online:A+D YouTube channel

Discover resources to support artists and arts organizations here:Creativity in the time of COVID


Marian Diamond (November 11, 1926 – July 25, 2017), was a Professor Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, and was one of the founders of modern neuroscience. Her research demonstrated the impact of enrichment—a simple but powerful new understanding that has literally changed the world, from how we think about ourselves to how we raise our children.

Dr. Diamond showed anatomically, for the first time, what we now call plasticity, and in so doing shattered the old paradigm of understanding the brain as static and unchangeable.

My Love Affair with the Brain is an award-winning PBS documentary that brings the viewer right into the heart of science and into a deeper understanding of your own brain.

Join Prof. Diamond for a full semester of human anatomy lectures. We promise we won’t make you take an exams!

The playlist of the full course is here

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 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.

Ruzena Bajcsy is the NEC Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. She was the founding director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) in 2001. As part of her activities in CITRIS, and together with the University of California Center for the Humanities, she played a founding role in establishing a program of Digital Humanities. Before joining UC Berkeley, she headed the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (1999–2001).

Judith P. Klinman (born April 17, 1941) is a chemist, biochemist, and molecular biologist known for her work on enzyme catalysis. She became the first female science professor at UC Berkeley in 1978. In 2012, she was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama.

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

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 Berkeley Math Circle, and an expert in the combinatorial enumeration of permutations with forbidden patterns.

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 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.​

Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and affiliated faculty at the Haas School of Business in their Operations and Information Technology Management Group. She directs the BEST Lab: Berkeley Energy and Sustainable Technologies | Berkeley Expert Systems Technology | Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities. She currently serves as Chair of the Development Engineering Graduate Group and Education Director of the Blum Center for Emerging Economies.

Katya Rakhmatulina, UC Berkeley environmental engineering Ph.D. student, studies fire and water in Yosemite National Park’s Illilouette Basin. Research shows that restoring natural fire regimes to California’s mountains could be a win-win: more water, improved biodiversity, and a reduced risk of catastrophic fires.

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 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.


Carlo H. Séquin , Professor of Computer Science, had an early fascination with numbers which led him on a career path to utilize geometry in diverse situations from designing buildings and electronics to geometric art sculptures.

Check out some of Carlo’s other videos on Numberphile!

Jennifer Doudna, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, discusses gene-editing with CRISPR.

Learn more about CRISPR gene editing from the Innovative Genomics Institute .

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

Daniel Wescott, graduate student in the Plant & Microbial Biology, explains how better understanding photosynthesis can help the agricultural sector minimize environmental impact. Learn more about the CLEAR Project.

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