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2015 Fall Questions of Race

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A Smoking Gun: The Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs May Have Had Help

Any third grader can tell you what killed the dinosaurs: an asteroid that smashed into Earth 66 million years ago, obliterating T. Rex, Triceratops, and Velociraptor, and paving the way for mammals to thrive. But that theory was wildly controversial when first introduced in 1980 by Berkeley Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez and his son, Walter, […]

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Brewing Trouble: A New Process Could Make it Too Easy to Manufacture Opiates

UC Berkeley bioengineer John Dueber knows too well that sometimes the most important scientific discoveries have harmful consequences. Just recently, Dueber and a team of scientists discovered the final step in modifying common yeast cells to manufacture opiates. Their finding was published in the July issue of Nature Chemical Biology, alongside a warning urging scientists […]

Black Cop, White Cop: What can two Berkeley police from the century before tell us about race relations in America today?

It was Berkeley in the 1920s. “The Fighting Swede” was driving through town, feeling even more pugnacious than usual. That’s because he was drunk. The Swede had carved out a reputation as a barroom brawler in the waterfront dives on both sides of the Bay, and he was always more than willing to defend his […]

Image source: Illustration by Michiko Toki

Coloring in the Lines: How Racially Diverse Should Elite Universities Be?

Over the past four decades, the issue has simmered under the surface, occasionally boiling over into lawsuits and federal complaints. That issue is Asian-American enrollment at elite universities. Percentagewise, Asian Americans are well represented, if not “overrepresented,” at UC Berkeley and other highly selective universities across the country when compared with the general population: Asians/Pacific […]