Berkeley Alumni

Five Questions for Jack Citrin

1 California Magazine: You were born in Shanghai to Russian-Jewish refugees who, after WWII, moved to Hong Kong and then Tokyo. You attended college in Canada and eventually settled in Berkeley and became a U.S. citizen. How did your upbringing inform your academic interests?

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Artificial Intelligence But Real Style at the Turing Conference

The Turing Award is basically “the Nobel prize of computing,” named after the founding father of the field and given to those who kick the most butt in computer science.  So if you had to guess which university has won the most awards over the last half-century, you’d probably say Massachusetts Institute of Technology, maybe Carnegie Mellon.

When the Elephant in the Room Is a Beached Whale

What happens when the world’s largest mammal washes up dead on your local beach? Residents of Bolinas, California were faced with this question in May, when a 79-foot blue whale turned up ashore on nearby Agate Beach. According to biologists present, the necropsy (an autopsy for animals) revealed that the whale had collided with a ship and died of blunt force trauma.

Can We Learn to Grow Color? Butterfly Wings May Hold the Answer

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, humans have been buttering up the natural world for a long time. It’s often called biomimicry. Think Olympic swimmers in sharkskin-inspired suits, bullet trains shaped like kingfisher beaks, or the ubiquitous Velcro, which was famously modeled after plant burrs.  

Yet all of these examples depend on man-made materials and processes. What if we took biomimicry one step further and learned how to grow structures the way they grow in nature?

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

What’s Most Likely To Bring Down Trump? We Ask Cal’s Experts

The bunker metaphor may be overdone in regard to the White House and its current occupant, but that’s not to say it isn’t apt. Trump is taking a massive amount of incoming, and it’s having a profound effect on him personally and administratively. Recent staff leaks describe him as “agitated and exhausted” and much, though not all, of his agenda has stalled.

The Starship or the Canoe: Where Will Our Future Adaptations Be?

IN 2015, an observatory high in the Atacama Desert of Chile detected three planets orbiting an M star, an ultra-cool dwarf, in the constellation Aquarius about 40 light years, or 232 trillion miles, from Earth. Until then, the dim star was designated 2MASS J23062928-0502285. Not such a charming name. The discoverers of its satellites, a team of astronomers who operate the Chilean observatory remotely from Liege in Belgium, took the opportunity to warm up that appellation.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

The Buzz About the Zika Virus

Nearly a year after the Rio Olympics, babies in the city’s favelas are still being born with microcephaly as a consequence of the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne disease has been identified by the World Health Organization as a congenital epidemic of international concern, yet one seldom hears about it in the international media. That’s a far cry from the lead-up to the Games, when a steady parade of Zika headlines sparked near-hysteria.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Well, This Is An Honor

It happened again: California Magazine has been recognized as a top college and university general-interest magazine by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)! Over the past decade, California has been awarded two golds and one silver award in this category, and our writers and illustrators have also been honored numerous times by CASE.

New Law Dean Talks Comey, Campus Free Speech, Trump’s Legacy

Erwin Chemerinsky, the incoming dean at UC Berkeley Law School and a constitutional law scholar of national repute, has been ruminating much of late on the ongoing shenanigans in Washington and their implications for the Republic. Chemerinsky weighed in with CALIFORNIA late last week and shared some of his thoughts, including his take on reports that President Donald Trump might attempt to invoke executive privilege to prevent former FBI director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.

Vijay Iyer Jazzes Up the Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival

A couples counselor could have warned Vijay Iyer that the relationship was doomed, but he needed to figure it out for himself. When he arrived at UC Berkeley in the summer of 1992 to start a graduate program in physics, Iyer was also nursing a simmering passion for jazz. The pianist quickly started connecting with some of the Bay Area’s leading improvisers, and after two years, he found himself in something of a crisis—uninspired by his academic courses while increasingly drawn to intensive jazz sessions.

LandPaths Takes a Road Less Traveled to Community Building

LandPaths is a highly successful Sonoma County conservancy-cum-outreach program that fills a variety of needs: maintaining and restoring open space reserves, connecting kids and families to the outdoors through hikes, camp outs and paddle trips, and supporting summer camps and colloquia.

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