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Higgs Fever

Higgs fever: Overflow crowd hears about new particle

Worldwide excitement over the possible discovery of a new fundamental particle, the Higgs boson. spilled onto campus recently as hundreds of people – more than an auditorium and an overflow room could hold – turned out to hear UC Berkeley physicists explain the hoopla.

If not for the Higgs boson, “our universe wouldn’t be at all what it is today,” Beate Heinemann told the crowd, which ranged from teenagers to retirees. “The electron would be massless, we wouldn’t have any atoms, no stars, no galaxies, nothing.”

Cal well represented in 2012 Olympic Games

With 45 Golden Bears having earned a spot in the Olympic Games, Cal will be well represented throughout the 19 days of competition in London. The total includes 38 athletes, five coaches, one chief medical officer, and one event manager.

Over its history, Cal athletes have captured 159 total medals — 91 gold, 40 silver and 28 bronze — including a school-record 17 medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This year's contingent features athletes and coaches in 10 different sports — men's basketball, men's and women's rowing, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's water polo, and women's soccer.

Bakar Fellows advance commercially promising research

Research innovations by early-career UC Berkeley faculty — including technologies to move prosthetic limbs with the power of thought and to control Argentine ants using their own pheromones — are getting a significant boost toward commercial development from the campus’s Bakar Fellows Program. The Bakar initiative, launched this year, is aimed at speeding the translation of Berkeley-bred innovations into practical applications and, in the process, improving the California economy. It creates a network of faculty, postdocs, students, staff, and alumni to support researchers’ efforts to take their discoveries from the lab to the market.

New building for global energy, climate change research

The Helios Energy Research Facility is in the final stages of construction, and scientists will be moving in starting Monday, July 20. The LEED-certified building will house the Energy Biosciences Institute, the largest public-private partnership of its kind in the world. Scientists there will address one of the 21st century’s greatest challenges – finding a technological solution to the problems associated with climate change, global warming, and the rising price and diminishing supplies of carbon-based fossil fuels.

Read a first-person observation of the construction of this and a neighboring building, from the perspective of a College of Environmental Design student.

Theoretical astrophysicist receives $500K+, no strings attached

The Simons Foundation of New York initiated a new program of Simons Investigators this year, awarding 21 mathematicians, theoretical physicists, and theoretical computer scientists $100,000 a year for 5 to 10 years, no strings attached. UC Berkeley theoretical astrophysicist Eliot Quataert — who holds the Thomas & Alison Schneider Chair in Physics — was one of them.

Come to Cal for three days of fun!

Homecoming at Cal (Oct. 5–7, 2012) is your best chance to join fellow alumni, parents, and friends in celebrating all that Berkeley stands for. Register today to gain access to more than 100 fun-filled events, including festive alumni parties, the Bear Affair BBQ, faculty seminars, campus tours, museum open houses, and more. You may either purchase tickets to individual events or save money with a weekend package, available in several options. Tickets to the Cal vs. UCLA football game ($45 plus fees) are purchased separately.

Homecoming wouldn't be the same without you! Please register today.
Questions? Call 888.UNIV.CAL (888.864.8225) or e-mail

Wall of Fame highlights London-bound Bears

A new blog — the Berkeley Wall of Fame — celebrates Cal alumni whose vision and talents have changed the world. With 45 Golden Bears participating in 10 sports in the London 2012 Olympics — including 11 athletes who have already occupied the Olympic medal stand — Berkeley aims to surpass the 159 medals Cal athletes have already captured throughout history. Visit the wall to see a select group of high-performing alumni who are going for the gold, as well as to sign up for quarterly updates on who has been added.

UC Berkeley joins edX online learning initiative

UC Berkeley this week joined edX, a not-for-profit online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and MIT and launched last May. The campus will collaborate with edX to expand the number of universities that offer their courses on the edX platform. In a press release issued by edX, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said the campus is “committed to excellence in online education and the dual goals of distributing higher education more broadly and enriching the quality of campus-based education.”

A roadmap to Berkeley’s literary scene

Berkeley — the city and the university — has long held literary resonance and served as both home and creative backdrop for writers from Joan Didion ’56 to the late Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz. A Berkeley student who is also editor of the Berkeley Poetry Review, Andrew David King, has assembled a literary roadmap to Berkeley. If you’re curious where in Berkeley Allan Ginsberg lived in 1955, where he wrote parts of Howl, or want to know the exact address of Jack Kerouac in the same period, check out the piece published in Ploughshares.



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