Lectures & Learning Opportunities

Check back often as events will be added to the website frequently — right up until Homecoming weekend!

Parents’ Info Lounge

10/18/19 10 a.m.3 p.m.  
10/19/19 9 a.m.1 p.m.  

Come by for a chance to talk with campus leadership about topics of specific interest to Cal Parents and families. Learn what resources are available for you and get advice on how your student can make the most of their time at Berkeley. You’ll get a chance to talk to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, deans, and staff from many of the colleges as well as members of our Cal Parents, Career Center, and others who can help you help your student thrive! See below for who is currently scheduled to be in the lounge.

Friday, October 18

10–11 a.m.
Carol Christ, Chancellor and Professor Emeritus, English

11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Vice Provost For Academic Planning and Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Jim Knowlton, Director of Athletics
Lisa García Bedolla, Vice Provost, Graduate Studies; Dean, Graduate Division; Professor, Graduate School of Education

12–1 p.m.
Oliver O’Reilly, Chair, Academic Senate and Professor, Materials Engineering
Paul Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

1–2 p.m.
Steve Sutton, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Marc Fisher, Vice Chancellor, Administration

2–3 p.m.
Cathy Koshland, Vice Chancellor, Undergraduate Education and Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
David Ackerly, Dean, College of Natural Resources and Professor, Integrative Biology

Saturday, October 19

9–10 a.m.
Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian, Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, and Professor, School of Information and Economics

10 a.m.–12 p.m.
David Ortega, Director, Parent Services and Communication

12–1 p.m. 
Andra Lee, Director, Parent Philanthropy and Engagement

Check back right before Homecoming for an updated schedule of who else will be in the lounge.

Sponsored by: 
Cal Parents
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Arleigh Williams Forum: Student Perspectives on Access

10/18/19 10 a.m.11 a.m.  

What does it really mean for a UC Berkeley student to access the campus? Physical accessibility is key, but it may be just a part of how students need to — and seek to — access and participate in the campus community. You are invited to explore all components of Cal’s accessibility in a panel discussion with current students.

Sponsored by: 
Order of the Golden Bear
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On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration

10/18/19 10 a.m.11 a.m.  

Professor Harding will discuss the challenges of prisoner reintegration in the era of mass incarceration and how we can reduce recidivism and improve the well-being of the formerly incarcerated. His recent book, On the Outside, examines the lives of 22 people — varied in race and gender but united by their time in the criminal justice system — as they pass out of the prison gates and back into society. For more information, see ontheoutsidebook.us.

Speaker(s): 
David J. Harding
Professor of Sociology and Faculty Director, Social Sciences D-Lab

David Harding studies poverty, inequality, criminal justice, education, urban communities, and culture. He is the author of Living the Drama: Community, Conflict, and Culture Among Inner-City Boys (2010) and On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration (2019).

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Prytanean Homecoming Lecture

10/18/19 10 a.m.11 a.m.  

Professor of English Jennifer Miller, who teaches courses on English drama, medieval literature, and the English renaissance, will deliver this year’s Prytanean Lecture, titled “Turning Over an Old Leaf: The Strange and Wonderful World of Medieval Manuscripts.”

The Prytanean Homecoming Lecture is given by a past recipient of the Prytanean Faculty Enrichment Award, $25,000 given annually to a nontenured woman faculty member who has been selected on the basis of distinguished teaching, scholarly achievement, and success as a role model for students. The award recipients are among the very best of Berkeley professors in a variety of fields. Founded in 1900 on the Berkeley campus, the Prytanean Society is the oldest women’s honor society in the United States. Each Prytanean has pledged “faith, service, and loyalty” to the University of California.

Sponsored by: 
Prytanean Society
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Three Lessons for the Greater Good from the Golden State Warriors

10/18/19 10 a.m.11 a.m.  

Over the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have not only distinguished themselves by their record-setting accomplishments on the court but by the unique team culture they have built, centering on values like compassion, joy, and mindfulness. Drawing on cutting-edge research, Jason Marsh will discuss how those values help to explain the Warriors’ success. Not just for basketball fans, this talk will highlight the keys to building successful teams, strong relationships, and a happy, meaningful life. 

Speaker(s): 
Jason Marsh
Editor-in-Chief and Director of Programs, Greater Good Science Center

Jason Marsh founded the Greater Good Science Center’s award-winning online magazine, Greater Good. He has written on subjects ranging from the psychology of the bystander to the reasons why he should finally start meditating, and has produced the GGSC’s popular online course and podcast The Science of Happiness. He is a co-editor of two anthologies of Greater Good articles: The Compassionate Instinct and Are We Born Racist?. Marsh’s writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and the opinion section of CNN.com.

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A Radically Hopeful Vision for Humans, AI, and Robots

10/18/19 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.  

Should we believe headlines about artificial intelligence (AI) and robots stealing jobs, replacing drivers, doctors, and lawyers? Are AI and robots an existential threat to humans? “Automation anxiety” has a long history, with widespread pronouncements about the imminent loss of jobs to automation. In contrast to the science-fiction fearmongering around “Singularity.” Goldberg proposes an inclusive alternative called “Complementarity,” i.e. AI and robots taking on drudgery so that humans can focus on what we do best: creativity, intuition, empathy, and communication. He will share results from his research in robotics and a global study suggesting how AI could lead to a more productive and inclusive future for humans.

Speaker(s): 
Ken Goldberg
Professor, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

Ken Goldberg teaches and supervises research in Robotics, Automation, and New Media. He is professor of industrial engineering and operations research, with secondary appointments in EECS, the School of Information, art practice, and the UCSF department of radiation oncology. Goldberg and his co-authors have published over 200 peer-reviewed technical papers on algorithms for robotics, automation, and social information filtering. He holds eight U.S. patents and was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellowship by President Clinton in 1995, the National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 1994, the Joseph Engelberger Robotics Award in 2000, and was elected IEEE Fellow in 2005.

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Fake News. What’s New?

10/18/19 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.  

Fake news is hardly a new phenomenon, whether malicious (Joseph McCarthy’s phantom Communists) or merely mistaken (“Dewey Defeats Truman!”). So why do we feel so victimized by it now? Or, to put it more psychologically, why do we feel the need to protect other people from it — since we are generally confident that we can tell the difference? This talk is based on the recent Freshman Seminars on “fake news.”

Speaker(s): 
Daniel F. Melia
Professor Emeritus, Rhetoric and Celtic Studies

Daniel Melia took all his degrees at Harvard (in English and then Celtic studies) and came to Cal in 1972 as an assistant professor of rhetoric. His publications have included articles and books on Celtic languages and literature, classical and medieval literature and rhetoric, and skin cancer. At Berkeley, he has served as an undergraduate and graduate dean, department chair, and member and chair of several Academic Senate committees. He also won the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions in 1998.

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The Future of Precision Disease Diagnostics

10/18/19 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.  

A business maxim that is also applicable to medicine goes: “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it.” Bioengineers are working to transform medicine into a precise — even personalized — discipline. Professor Herr’s laboratory is pushing the boundaries of what can be measured so as to gain deeper knowledge of what “goes wrong” in disease at the cellular and molecular level. She will share how advances in the microelectronics industry have powered new tools for disease diagnostics.

Speaker(s): 
Amy Herr
Lloyd Distinguished Professor, Bioengineering; Investigator, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub; Faculty Director, Bakar Fellows Program

Amy Herr focuses on understanding unique microscale phenomena to create measurement tools that advance the “mathematization” of biology and medicine. She received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2002 and has been recognized as a National Institutes of Health New Innovator, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and a Visionary Award honoree by the City of Berkeley.

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Unlocking the Secrets of Brain Aging

10/18/19 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.  

As our brains age, we become more forgetful, more tired, and less able to do the cognitive gymnastics of our youth. What if we could stop the brain from aging? This talk presents new data from experiments in mice and humans that has revealed a novel biological pathway leading to age-related cognitive decline, and clues on how to reverse the aging process in the brain.

Speaker(s): 
Daniela Kaufer
Professor, Integrative Biology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute; Class of 1943 Memorial Chair; Associate Dean of Biological Sciences

Daniela Kaufer received her Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a postdoctoral fellow in the departments of biological sciences and neurosurgery at Stanford University. Kaufer’s lab studies how the brain deals with perturbations like stress and brain injury, and the mechanisms underlying resilience and vulnerability throughout life and into aging. She is the recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health Director’s New Innovator Award, NARSAD Young and independent Investigator Awards, BAKAR Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and the Archer award for innovation in aging research.

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24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

10/18/19 1:30 p.m.2:30 p.m.  

Explore ideas from Tiffany Shlain’s new book 24/6, about how turning off screens one day a week can work wonders on the brain, body, and soul. Go on a journey through time and technology, introducing a strategy for living in our 24/7 world: turning off all screens for 24 hours each week. Her family has done this practice for a decade and call it their “Technology Shabbat.” She delves into the neuroscience, philosophy, and history of a weekly day of rest across cultures, making the case for why we need to bring this ritual back.

Speaker(s): 
Tiffany Shlain
Author, Filmmaker, and Webby Awards Founder

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose films and work have received over 80 awards and distinctions including being selected for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future, the first-ever 3D-printed book. NPR included her UC Berkeley address in its list of best commencement speeches and her films have premiered at top festivals including Sundance. She lectures worldwide on the relationship between technology and humanity. Find out more at tiffanyshlain.com and follow @tiffanyshlain on social media.

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Capturing Chemotherapy Drugs Before They Spread Through the Body

10/18/19 1:30 p.m.2:30 p.m.  

Chemotherapy can kill cancer cells very effectively, but leftover drugs can spread and potentially poison healthy cells elsewhere in the body. Using 3D printing, Professor Balsara’s team has created a “drug sponge” that can absorb excess chemo drugs before they spread. The device will be placed at a predetermined location using minimally invasive surgery during chemotherapy and removed at the end of the procedure. Their first target is liver cancer, wherein the device will be placed in the blood vessel exiting the liver.

Speaker(s): 
Nitash Balsara
Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Principal Investigator, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nitash Balsara has been a UC Berkeley faculty member since 2000 and has started two companies. These are Seeo, Inc., and more recently, Blue Current, LLC, which focuses on solving one of the problems of lithium-ion batteries: flammability. His research interests include microstructured polymer materials, light, and neutron scattering.

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Climate Change and Wildlife in California

10/18/19 1:30 p.m.2:30 p.m.  

Forecasts of climate change on biodiversity are typically based on models of species associations at contemporary locations and often produce alarming conclusions. Professor Beissinger will report on a 15-year effort to direct measures of change by resampling locations throughout California that were originally surveyed for birds and mammals by Cal faculty and students in the early 1900s. This includes resurveys of small mammals and birds spanning the highest and lowest points in the continental U.S. and across the length of the California including long protected, iconic national parks (e.g., Yosemite and Death Valley) and other public and private lands.

Speaker(s): 
Steve Beissinger
Professor of Ecology & Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology

Beissinger’s professional career has been devoted to producing ecological knowledge that can be used to both conserve biodiversity and uncover basic processes in population biology that govern how nature works. His current research centers on two of the biggest challenges facing conservation and society — wildlife responses to global change and species’ extinctions — with work carried out in California and Latin America. Beissinger is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ecological Society of America, and the American Ornithological Society, the latter of which awarded him the William Brewster Memorial Award for his research on Western Hemisphere birds.

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CRISPR: From Basic Biology to Technological Revolution

10/18/19 1:30 p.m.2:30 p.m.  

Under constant attack from viruses, bacteria have evolved a unique and creative immune system, which scientists named “CRISPR.” In the course of investigating this intricate immune system, scientists realized that CRISPR proteins might not only improve the health of bacteria, but also that of humans. Researchers have since shown that various CRISPR proteins can be programed to cut any sequence of DNA. The ability to precisely edit genomes has revolutionized biology, medicine, and agriculture, from curing deadly genetic disorders to engineering drought-resistant plants. This talk will illuminate this groundbreaking technology and outline pressing questions society is now forced to answer.

Speaker(s): 
Kevin Doxzen
Science Communications Specialist, Innovative Genomics Institute

The Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) is a joint research partnership between UC Berkeley and UCSF, focused on developing genome editing tools to treat genetic diseases and engineer sustainable agriculture. In his role as science communications specialist, Doxzen undertakes myriad projects in education, outreach, and communications. From designing high school CRISPR kits to developing CRISPR AR and VR apps, the IGI is working to bring educational tools to school, libraries, and hospitals. Doxzen also gives public talks, writes op-ed articles, and collaborates with various community groups to engage, equip, and empower different stakeholders with accurate information.

Sponsored by: 
Innovative Genomics Institute
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Food Slaves: Labor Trafficking in American Agriculture

10/18/19 1:30 p.m.2:30 p.m.  

Learn about the agricultural industry’s dependency on undocumented workers and how both immigration enforcement and worker visas can make them more vulnerable to abuse during this conversation between Andrés Cediel and Nina F. Ichikawa, both of the Berkeley Food Institute.

Speaker(s): 
Andrés Cediel
Professor, Graduate School of Journalism

Andrés Cediel is a professor of visual journalism. He produced a series of award-winning documentary films about the sexual abuse of immigrant women workers which ultimately resulted in legislative change. His most recent work, Trafficked in America, tells the story of unaccompanied minors from Guatemala who were forced to work against their will at an Ohio egg farm. Cediel graduated from Brown University and holds a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.

Nina F. Ichikawa
Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute

Nina F. Ichikawa previously served in the Office of Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai’i and for the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative during the Obama administration. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Meiji Gakuin University in food and agricultural policy.

Sponsored by: 
Class of 1967
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