150 years of innovation

As the University of California’s sesquicentennial draws to a close, so too does our 150 Years of Innovation series celebrating the people and inventions that characterize the best of Berkeley Engineering. We set out to provide a sampling of the diverse ways our faculty, alumni and students have made — and are making — their mark on history.

We acknowledge that there simply are not enough weeks in a year to present all of the amazing people who embody the bold creativity and societal impact of Berkeley engineers. In the end, though, the BerkeleyEngineering@150 series should help serve to showcase the excellence of our college in the past, present and future. We look forward to starting another 150-year run of innovation that makes our world a better place, and we hope you join us along the way.

Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan: Iconic architect

Alumni, Civil engineering
Julia Morgan, who graduated in 1894 with a degree in civil engineering, was an architectural pioneer and “a true California gem.”
Ruzena Bajcsy with a robot in the lab

Ruzena Bajcsy: Renowned engineer, ‘enemy of the state’

EECS, Faculty
Before robotics and computer vision pioneer Ruzena Bajcsy came to UC Berkeley from her native Czechoslovakia, she had already overcome extraordinary obstacles in her life, beginning with losing her family to the Nazis and the Communists.
Elizabeth Hausler

Elizabeth Hausler: Building change

Alumni, Civil engineering, Uncategorized
Elizabeth Hausler is the founder and CEO of Build Change, an international nonprofit that designs disaster-resistant structures and trains homeowners and craftsmen in best construction practices.
Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak: Inventor and Apple co-founder

Alumni, EECS
Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 with Steve Jobs, starting the personal computing revolution and creating one of the most influential companies in history.
T.Y. Lin

T.Y. Lin: Visionary structural engineer

Alumni, Civil engineering
T.Y. Lin perfected the use of prestressed concrete, profoundly changing the history of building construction throughout the world.
Eli Yablonovitch

Eli Yablonovitch: Father of photonic band engineering

EECS, Faculty
Eli Yablonovitch, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, is renowned for his pioneering discoveries in optics and electronics. He famously introduced the 4 (n squared) factor as the theoretical limit for light trapping photovoltaics. Sometimes referred to as the “Yablonovitch limit,” this factor is used for almost all commercial…

Gary May: Diversity champion

Alumni, EECS
Gary May has spent his career developing tools and programs for others to succeed by advocating for more diversity in STEM.

BRETT: Deep-learning robot

EECS, Faculty
BRETT the robot has learned to master a variety of tasks through trial and error, or what is known in artificial intelligence as “deep learning.”
Chang-Lin Tien teaching mechanical engineering class

Chang-Lin Tien: Inspirational educator, renowned engineer

Faculty, Mechanical engineering
Berkeley chancellor and mechanical engineering professor Chang-Lin Tien was a popular administrator and highly regarded researcher in thermal science, as well as an outspoken champion of equal access and opportunity in higher education.
David Patterson

David Patterson: A winning RISC

EECS, Faculty
At a time when fellow computer scientists believed that semiconductor technology demanded increasingly complex architecture, David Patterson took the opposite approach. Simplification won out, and today, 99 percent ofall microprocessors produced annually are based on the RISC technology he pioneered.
Clarence Cory

Clarence Cory: Electrifying the West

EECS, Faculty
After installing equipment to supply light and power to the Berkeley campus, Clarence Cory developed pioneering technology for the electrification of the West.
Ashok Gadgil with Darfur stove

Ashok Gadgil: Humanitarian inventor

Civil engineering, Faculty
Ashok Gadgil is a man of many interests. These days, he’s applying his multi-faceted expertise to improving the lives of millions in the developing world through fuel-efficient cookstoves and improving access to viable drinking water.
Don Pederson

Don Pederson: Creator of SPICE

EECS, Faculty
Don Pederson created SPICE, a program allows computer engineers to analyze and design complex electronic circuitry quickly and accurately.
Andy Grove

Andy Grove: Visionary CEO

Andy Grove is credited with transforming Intel from a memory chip manufacturer into one of the world’s top microprocessor producers.
Adam Arkin in his lab

Adam Arkin: Synthetic biology innovator

Bioengineering, Faculty
Adam Arkin, professor of bioengineering, has pioneered the creation of frameworks to facilitate the design and engineering of new functions and behaviors in cells through synthetic biology.
Richard Muller

Richard S. Muller: MEMS pioneer

EECS, Faculty
The 1970s introduced the Voyager Program, jumbo jets and MRI machines. But during a time of large-sized technological achievements, Richard S. Muller was concentrating on the small. When he first joined Berkeley’s electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) department as a professor in 1962, Muller focused his research on integrated…
Leon and Byron Nishkian

Leon and Byron Nishkian: A century of building

Alumni, Civil engineering
Leon Nishkian and his son, Byron, left an indelible mark in Northern California and beyond, not only with the structures they designed and built, but with their vision of how engineers can help shape the character of a region.
George Dantzig

George Dantzig: Operations research phenom

Faculty, Industrial engineering
George Dantzig, one of the founding fathers of industrial engineering and operations research, developed the simplex algorithm and was the first person to formulate linear programming models.
Thomas Budinger

Thomas Budinger: Better medical imaging

Bioengineering, Faculty
Thomas Budinger, a world-renowned medical imaging researcher, was the founding chair of UC Berkeley’s bioengineering department.
Oil portrait of Raymond Davis

Raymond Davis: Materials lab leader

Civil engineering, Faculty
Civil engineering professor Raymond Davis grew Berkeley’s Engineering Materials Laboratory into the preeminent facility for construction research.
Austin Whitney walks across the stage at commencement

Homayoon Kazerooni: Affordable mobility

Faculty, Mechanical engineering
Robotic exoskeletons are enabling people in wheelchairs to reach new heights, but the devices are expensive. Homayoon Kazerooni, professor of mechanical engineering, is working to bring the price tag down so more people can afford the technology.
Chris Ategeka

Christopher Ategeka: Addressing global poverty

Alumni, Mechanical engineering
Christopher Ategeka is bringing healthcare services to underserved communities in Africa, as well as leading the conversation about the unintended consequences of technology.
CEE earthquake shake table at Richmond Field Station

Shaking table: Advanced seismic safety

Civil engineering
PEER’s 20-foot-square shaking table has been helping Berkeley engineers advance seismic research since it was unveiled in 1972 as the world’s first modern shaking table.
John Neerhout Jr.

John Neerhout Jr.: Boring the Chunnel

Alumni, Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering alumnus John Neerhout Jr. was a key figure in the construction of the 31-mile Channel Tunnel linking Great Britain and France. It is considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century.
Dean Shankar Sastry

S. Shankar Sastry: Leadership in a changing world

Alumni, Bioengineering, EECS, Faculty, Mechanical engineering
As the 12th dean of Berkeley Engineering, Shankar Sastry helped ensure that the education, research and public service mission of the college remained uncompromised in a changing society.
Chuck Radcliffe and a prosthetic ankle

Chuck Radcliffe: Prosthetics designer

Alumni, Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering professor Charles “Chuck” Radcliffe was a pioneer in prosthetic design as well as the biomechanics of the amputee gait cycle.
Douglas Engelbart

Douglas Engelbart: Computer visionary

Alumni, EECS
Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse and designed a computer collaboration system that was foundational to the development of personal computers and the internet.
Bill Joy

Bill Joy: Co-founder of Sun Microsystems

Alumni, EECS
Dubbed the “Edison of the Internet” by Fortune Magazine, Bill Joy is one of luminaries of tech. Years before personal computers were being widely used, he created software that would enable the rise of the modern internet. He also conceptualized an internet-friendly language that could connect consumer-electronics and portable gadgets…
Shafi Goldwasser

Shafi Goldwasser: Cryptography pioneer

Alumni, EECS
Shafi Goldwasser, director of Berkeley’s Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing , has made major contributions to cryptography and numerous other fields, creating work that “is crucial to the fabric of our connected digital society.”

Dave Dornfeld: Leader in sustainable manufacturing

Faculty, Mechanical engineering
Dave Dornfeld, first faculty director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, was a leader in green and sustainable manufacturing, as well as an influential teacher and mentor.
Robert Bea

Robert Bea: Dr. Disaster

Civil engineering, Faculty
Civil and environmental engineering professor emeritus Robert Bea, the Master of Disaster, has built a remarkable career studying failures – both engineering and human – in hopes we can learn from them.
Claudia Ostertag

Claudia Ostertag: The future of concrete

Civil engineering, Faculty
Civil and environmental engineering professor Claudia Ostertag is researching ways to make concrete more sustainable, without compromising its durability or strength.
Alice Agogino with Darfur stove

Alice Agogino: Diversity by design

Faculty, Mechanical engineering
Alice Agogino’s wide-ranging interests and expertise are reflected in the many facets of her BEST lab: space robots, sustainable technology, design education, and fostering diversity and inclusion in engineering.
Rohan Phadte

Rohan Phadte: Fake news fighter

EECS, Students
EECS student Rohan Phadte is building machine learning technologies to aid in the battle against fake news and misinformation on the internet.
Dawn Song

Dawn Song: Privacy protector

Alumni, EECS, Faculty
Dawn Song, Berkeley Engineering professor and alumna, is proving to be a formidable leader in cutting-edge security and privacy research.
John Whinnery

John Whinnery: Fields and waves

EECS, Faculty
From the early days of the field, John Whinnery was a leader in electronic communications, who also played important roles as a campus leader.
Barbara Simons

Barbara Simons: Making votes count

Alumni, EECS
With the midterms rapidly approaching, there has been a flurry of news articles about the country’s ability to safeguard election results. But for Barbara Simons, this scrutiny is long overdue.

Pete Bragg: Materials science pioneer

Faculty, Materials science
Robert “Pete” Bragg Jr. was an expert in the structure and electronic properties of carbon materials, as well as an ardent supporter of diversity programs at Berkeley.
Chelsea Finn

Chelsea Finn: Teaching robots to learn

EECS, Students
Chelsea Finn is developing algorithms that enable robots to learn on their own by building on previous explorations and observations.
Graduation speakers Andrew-Ian Gonzales Bullitt, Joseph Andrew Charbonnet and Tsai Chu Yeh.

Commencement speakers: Words of student wisdom

Bioengineering, Civil engineering, Mechanical engineering, Students
Andrew-Ian Gonzales Bullitt, Joseph Andrew Charbonnet and Tsai Chu Yeh deliver this year’s student addresses at the Berkeley Engineering commencement ceremonies.
Dawn Tilbury

Dawn Tilbury: Shaping engineering research

Alumni, EECS
Berkeley Engineering alumna Dawn Tilbury has influence over the nation’s fundamental engineering research and education as the head of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering.
Christine Ho with Brooks Kincaid

Christine Ho: Printing batteries

Alumni, Materials science
Christine Ho invented a new battery chemistry and a print-based manufacturing process to simultaneously fabricate and place microscopic batteries onto wireless sensors.
Rachel Slaybaugh

Rachel Slaybaugh: The future of nuclear

Faculty, Nuclear engineering
Rachel Slaybaugh’s work is at the forefront of the movement to overhaul our nuclear industry —a key element in combating climate change. Her research examines the Boltzmann Transport Equation, which describes where all the neutrons are in a nuclear system.
Charles Gilman Hyde

Charles Gilman Hyde: Dean of sanitary engineering

Civil engineering, Faculty
Charles Gilman Hyde created environmental engineering practices during the early 20th century that supported California’s health and ecology, as well as developed Berkeley’s world-renowned sanitary engineering program.

Nery Barrera: Forest guardian

Civil engineering, Students
Nery Barrera, a member of the civil and environmental engineering class of 2018 from Guatemala, knows firsthand the importance of environmental protection.