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2014 Summer Apocalypse

Image source: Andrew Archer

Doomsday 2: No One Knows When the Next Plague Will Come, Only That It Will

The first confirmed victim was a Vietnamese butcher in Láo Cai. He collapsed suddenly while chopping up pork ribs in his outdoor stall, and died within hours. Family members said he had been feeling ill for several days,had been coughing constantly for two, but insisted on working. It was a point of pride with him, […]

Image source: Dan Hubig

Hitting the Big Leagues: My Daughter Now Knows She Can Play with the Big Boys

It was the summer of 2008 when my 7-year-old daughter asked me to run for president. We were shooting hoops behind our sublet in the Berkeley flats, where we’d come to escape the swampland heat of Washington, D.C. If I were elected, Sofia explained, I could make a law allowing women to play Major League […]

‘Greener’ Plants: Researchers Aim to Curb an Energy Glutton—Food Processing

At a laboratory on the side of Interstate 80 in Albany, Fatima Alleyne sits at a computer, trying to solve a major food dilemma.  Food processing is the third largest energy user in California, the top agricultural state in the nation. Plants that process food, beverages, and tobacco emit more than 1.6 million metric tons […]

Image source: Theater photo by Ryan Montgomery; profile photo by Lia Chang

Enter Gotanda: Ground-breaking Playwright Becomes a Ground-breaking Professor

The Professor enters talking, students in tow, his short-brimmed straw hat at a tilt. Windows are thrown open and spring air floods the classroom. The atmosphere is so unstuffy you’d hardly guess the teacher is one of the most influential American playwrights of his generation. In a three-decade body of work, Philip Kan Gotanda has […]

Back with a Vengeance: Berkeley’s Head Epidemiologist On the Return of Pertussis

Professor Arthur Reingold is Head of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health California: Is whooping cough coming back? We certainly are having a resurgence of pertussis in the United States, although it’s never gone away. It is a threat to very young infants, particularly those too young to be vaccinated or who have […]

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond: Physicist’s Laser Work Paves Way for Magnetic Sensors

It might sound slightly science fictional or possibly James Bond-ian, but this is what Dmitry Budker actually does: He shoots green lasers at colored diamonds. Budker is a UC Berkeley physics professor and his specialty is atomic magnetometry. He and his colleagues are bouncing lasers off of diamonds to measure the magnetic properties of materials […]

Yes, It’s Rocket Science: Berkeley Scientists Launch Exploration Into the Northern Lights

Beyond the scintillating lights of the auroras borealis and australis is a complicated atomic phenomenon that Berkeley scientists are exploring by launching a rocket into the northern lights. In order to better understand the sun’s interaction with the Earth’s magnetosphere, researchers at the Southwest Research Institute teamed up with John Bonnell, a Berkeley assistant research […]

Blister On The Sun: A Near-Miss Raises Questions about Effects of Large Solar Storm

Dr. Janet Luhmann sort of wishes Earth had been hit by a giant gust of solar wind in the summer of 2012. Sure, the cloud of magnetically charged protons and electrons would’ve gotten tangled up in our planet’s own magnetic field, probably disabling global positioning and other communications satellites and overloading many of our electrical […]