Twenty years ago, two chunks of rock plummeted from space. One landed in Texas in March, only yards away from a children’s basketball game. The other hit the ground in Morocco five months later. At the time, no one guessed that the meteorites carried some very unique passengers: crystals embedded with clues to the origins of life on Earth.
In 2010, Patrick O. Brown, then a biochemist at Stanford University, and Michael Eisen, Berkeley professor of genetics, were at a board meeting in Washington, D.C., for PLOS, the Public Library of Science.
You’ve probably been told, “Wikipedia is not a source. Don’t cite it. Don’t use it.”
Many high school and university instructors warn students against using Wikipedia, but new research illuminating the online encyclopedia’s impact on academia might prompt teachers to reconsider.
Pete Oboyski worries about bugs eating his bugs.
Hurricane Harvey was declared a Category 4 storm late this past Friday, was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday, and is officially the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.
Posted on August 29, 2017 - 4:50pm
At an age when most boys are learning to throw a curveball and struggling with elementary algebra, Paul Jacobs was writing code. Simple code, to be sure, but code good enough to let him play the video game Adventure with his dad on a clunky, early laptop.
It’s no surprise that Jacobs, who was in sixth or seventh grade when he wrote his first programs, grew up to be an engineer.
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.
Posted on June 26, 2017 - 4:53pm
No issue of a magazine devoted to the theme of Adaptation would be complete without some attention paid to biological evolution, à la Charles Darwin. To learn more about the subject we turned to Anna Thanukos, M.A. ’00, Ph.D. ’02, principal editor of Understanding Evolution, a free Web resource produced by the University of California Museum of Paleontology.
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?
When Rebecca Skloot was 16 years old, her biology teacher wrote a name on the blackboard: “Henrietta Lacks.” He explained that Lacks was a black woman whose surgeon had extracted cells from her tumor in 1951. They turned out to be the first human cells to survive indefinitely in a laboratory. Billions of so-called HeLa cells lived in labs around the world and had helped produce treatments for leukemia, influenza, Parkinson’s disease, and many other ailments.
Posted on May 18, 2017 - 11:42am
After President Donald Trump’s inauguration, information was altered and links up and died on government websites. In response, citizen programmers, scientists and activists met up at UC Berkeley for Data Rescue SF, an event created to preserve publicly accessible data, specifically from NASA Earth Sciences and the Department of Energy National Labs.
Posted on April 5, 2017 - 1:44pm
UC Berkeley plant scientists, working with colleagues from the University of Illinois, have successfully supercharged the photosynthesis cycle, allowing genetically altered tobacco plants to grow as much as 20 percent larger simply by using more sunlight.
More than 550 Berkeley students take your course Drugs and the Brain every year. What do you hope your students take away from the class?
Respect for the power of drugs, and specifically that all drugs are poisons as well as medicines. This is embedded in the ancient Greek word pharmakon. The origin of our words pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and pharmacology, it means both medicine and poison. While the ancients appreciated this dual property of drugs, it is often overlooked, even forgotten, in contemporary society.
Yesenia Guitron knew something was wrong at the bank branch where she worked. She was getting complaints from customers—many from Mexico and undocumented—that they were being charged for accounts they had never opened and were receiving debit cards they had never requested. Guitron, a personal banker at a local Wells Fargo in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, began to realize that some of her colleagues, under intense pressure to open accounts, were doing so without customers’ knowledge.