Chancellor Birgeneau stepping down at year’s end
Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau announced last week that he will step down as UC Berkeley’s chancellor at the end of 2012, calling the time he has spent leading one of the world’s preeminent teaching and research universities “an immense privilege and honor.”
Birgeneau was appointed Berkeley’s ninth chancellor in September 2004, and originally planned to stay for seven years. But he decided to remain longer because of the extraordinary circumstances facing the university due to the state’s financial crisis and the steep loss of state funding. An editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle lauded Birgeneau for showing “how assertive, attentive leadership can make a difference in education at any level, and even in the most treacherous of times."
Berkeley shines in new reputation, grad school rankings
UC Berkeley’s reputation shines internationally, and the campus’s graduate schools retain high marks nationally, as well, according to two separate rankings made public last week.
“Berkeley is fighting back”: video puts strengths front and center
In an e-mail to Cal alumni, parents and friends, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau shared a video designed to raise awareness and support for the university. The 79-second spot was produced in-house for The Campaign for Berkeley. With the $3-billion fundraising effort entering its final two years, the video demonstrates how support from the Cal family will help to ensure that Berkeley remains the “crown jewel of public higher education, the driver of innovation, the brains behind our knowledge economy, and the fuel of upward mobility.”
Forbes profiles philanthropist Li Ka-shing
In a profile of philanthropist Li Ka-shing, Forbes magazine points to his vision and generosity toward UC Berkeley, which made possible the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences on campus. The magazine also reports on Mr. Li’s visit to campus last October, describing him as having a “rock star status” that transcends the Pacific: “A throng of 300 gathered outside the Berkeley chancellor’s house during a thank-you lunch, hoping to meet him.”
Youngsters tapped to make computers smarter
People often wonder if computers make children smarter. UC Berkeley scientists are asking the reverse question: Can children make computers smarter? And their answer appears to be “yes” as they tap cognitive smarts of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to program computers to think more like humans.
A deep dive into the history of everything
Working with eight UC Berkeley students and with resources from Microsoft Research Connections, geologist Walter Alvarez has created a new piece of Web-based software that allows students, researchers, and the general public to cruise through cosmic timelines. Called ChronoZoom, it could help students visualize the sweep of history.
Linguistics students explore limitations and potential of video game
GameSpot recruited a class of UC Berkeley linguistics students to analyze the multiplayer communication system of the video game Journey.