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And the 2015 Alumnus of the Year is…

Steve Wozniak, who received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer sciences from Berkeley in 1986, has been selected as the 2015 Alumnus of the Year by the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist Wozniak helped birth the personal computer revolution when he and the late Steve Jobs started Apple in 1976 and quickly turned out the first line of Apple products. CAA also honored seven other individuals and one alumni chapter in five different award categories.

World’s largest 3D-printed building unveiled at Berkeley (video)

To close the fifth annual Berkeley Circus — celebrating the research and accomplishments of the College of Environmental Design (CED) community — a Berkeley research team unveiled Bloom, the first and largest powder-based 3D-printed cement structure built to date. The freestanding pavilion is nine feet high, has a footprint that measures about 12 feet by 12 feet, and is composed of 840 customized blocks that were 3D-printed using a new formulation developed by Ronald Rael, associate professor of architecture. Watch a time-lapse video of Bloom being built and a slideshow of the structure.

Don’t believe the light: supernova split by gravitational lens

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes. Berkeley astronomer Patrick Kelly has now found that one of these lenses — a massive galaxy within a cluster of galaxies that are gravitationally bending and magnifying light — has created four separate images of a distant supernova. The so-called “Einstein cross,” writes the Los Angeles Times, was predicted half a century ago by Sjur Refsdal, a Norwegian astrophysicist who died in 2009, and could help scientists test the structure of the cosmos.

$13 million gift launches new maternal and child health center

Dr. Helen Wallace, a world-renowned professor, mentor, and advocate known for her passion for improving the lives of women and children, has left a bequest valued at more than $13 million to the School of Public Health. The funds will launch the Wallace Maternal and Child Health Center, engaging in innovative, evidence-based research aimed at creating healthier generations of women, mothers, children, and families in the United States.

Berkeley shines again in rankings

Times Higher Education, the United Kingdom’s leading educational news publication, has again recognized Berkeley as the No. 1 public university in the United States and one of the “elite six” world universities in its 2015 reputation rankings. The standings are based on a survey of more than 10,000 academics worldwide. Berkeley ranked sixth with a score of 60, far ahead of the next ranked university, Princeton, which scored 35. 

Anxious people more apt to make bad decisions

Highly anxious people have more trouble deciding how best to handle life’s uncertainties. They may even catastrophize, interpreting, say, a lovers’ tiff as a doomed relationship or a workplace change as a career threat. The findings of scientists at Berkeley and the University of Oxford, reported recently in the journal Nature Neuroscience, hint at a glitch in the brain’s higher-order decision-making circuitry that could eventually be targeted in the treatment of anxiety disorders, which affect some 40 million American adults.

 

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