Cal Day is back and better than ever this year. Faced with campus tension and strife amid crippling budget cuts, UC Berkeley is still committed to showcasing the best science on campus during their annual open house on Saturday, April 17th. Lectures, interactive events, tours, all of the campus museums are free. I highly recommend the incomparable Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, the library of dead animals.
This year’s highlights feature hands on physics, discussions on energy & environmental issues, with the search for extra terrestrial life sprinkled in. For a complete listing of events, check out the Cal Day website.
Here are my picks:
QUEST@Cal Science Video Presentations. Check out your favorite QUEST videos followed by short talks and Q&As with the Cal scientists featured in the pieces. (Suitable for all ages)
When: 9 AM – 4 PM
Where: 2063 Valley Life Sciences Building
9 AM: Illuminating Northern Lights—John Bonnell
10 AM: Tracking Raindrops—Todd Dawson
11 AM: Dark Energy—Saul Perlmutter
12 PM: Better Bees—Claire Kremen
1 PM: Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse—Robert Full
2 PM: Disappearing Frogs—Tyrone Hayes
3 PM: Disappearing Plants—Scott Loarie
Planetary Science with a Handful of Atoms
When: 9-10 AM
Where: 141 McCone Hall
Who: Professor Burkhard Militzer
Details: Hear a lecture on Jupiter and its icy moons that includes demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, computer simulations, and discussion of NASA missions. And touch a meteorite!
Sleep: How Much You Really Need and How to Get It!
When: 10-11 AM
Where: 145 Dwinelle Hall
Who: Associate Professor of Psychology Allison Harvey
Details: To keep up with this fast paced world, many of us cut our sleep-time short. Catch up on the latest science about how much sleep you really need to maintain your health and optimal functioning. Then find out how to get that sleep.
Science@Cal: Genes in a Bottle (Suitable for all Ages)
When: 11 AM–1 PM
Where: Latimer Hall-Pimentel Hall patio
Details: Learn how DNA is chemically extracted from organisms for research applications. Then extract DNA from your own cheek cells, and take it home in a fashionable necklace! Sponsored by Bio-Rad Laboratories.
Why Are There Stars? New Answers to an Old Question
When: 11 AM–noon
Where: 3 LeConte Hall
Who: Associate Research Astronomer Steven Stahler
Details: There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone. How are they born? Learn about our current understanding of this most basic and beautiful process of nature.
The Genome and Cell Biology of Our Single-Celled Ancestors
When: Noon–1 PM
Where: 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building
Who: Assistant Professor Nicole King
Details: The recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship or “Genuis Award,” discusses her cutting-edge research, including explaining how the single-cell progenitors of animals lived (and died) over 600 million years ago, and how scientists can reconstruct their biology by comparing the genomes and cell biology of living organisms.
Electronic Sound Garden: A Music Demonstration (Suitable for all Ages)
When: Noon–4 PM
Where: Hertz Hall, north courtyard
Details: Hear sound artists and composers–students in the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies–as they present a sound experience in a cozy, forgotten courtyard. Listen closely as the sonic foliage reveals its secrets! (Rain cancels.)
Alternative Fuel Vehicles Q&A
When: 1–2 pm
Where: McCone Hall plaza
Details: New green-car technology is reaching the marketplace. Talk to one of Berkeley’s experts on alternative fuel vehicles, peak under the hood, and learn about the way research subjects are adapting to the new technologies.
Combining Physics and Engineering to Find a Cure for Cancer
When: 2–2:45 PM
Where: 4 LeConte Hall
Who: Director Jan Liphardt, UC Berkeley’s Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, Chemist Jay Groves, Cancer Biologist Mina Bissell, and other UCB PS-OC investigators.
Details: Hear about the discoveries being made in cancer research by physicists, chemists, engineers, and mathematicians, and how these discoveries might help find a cure.