Berkeley Alumni

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.

Diving In and Rising Above

When I was five years old, I was entered into my first swimming competition.

Waiting for my event to begin, I stood at the edge of the pool, nervous and unsure of myself. The buzzer went off, and I dove into the pool. I swam my heart out, loving the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins. The cheering of the crowd was muffled underwater, making me feel a world away. As I reached the end of the pool and the race, I raised my head out of the water and the sounds of the crowd burst back to full volume.

Dan Siegel on Free Speech and People’s Park 48 Years Later

Five questions for Dan Siegel, famous as an articulate firebrand on the UC Berkeley campus during the heady 1960s. He is now 71 and is a civil rights attorney in Oakland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

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