Milestones

1868: The foundation

From the beginning, engineering has been a core part of Berkeley’s curriculum and identity.
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1888: Earthquake science

Earth sciences professors set up the first string of seismographic stations in the Western hemisphere to track earthquake data.
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1892: The electrification of California

California’s growing economy and industries look to Berkeley engineers for help building the state’s early energy infrastructure.
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1894: Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan, the only woman in her class, graduates with a degree in civil engineering.
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1895: Medical diagnostics

Soon after discovery of the X-ray in Germany, a group of young Berkeley engineers hack together cathode ray tubes from the physics department to create their own imaging equipment.
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1900: The decade of pioneering technologies

Increasing energy efficiency and experimenting with emerging technologies become underpinning themes of the college’s research.
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1903: Building the 'City of Learning'

John Galen Howard starts to turn a loose collection of buildings into an iconic university campus.
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1904: Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg graduates from the College of Mining. Goldberg brings engineering concepts and humor to a nationwide audience through his syndicated newspaper cartoons depicting characters using elaborately complicated machines to complete simple tasks.
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1907: Hearst Memorial Mining Building

The building, begun in 1902, is completed after an 18-month delay due to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Called “the architectural gem of the entire UC system,” Hearst Mining is equipped with small smelters, rock crushers, drill rigs and chemical fume hoods.
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1909: Student snapshot

The year’s graduating class from the College of Mechanics.
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1911: Mine safety

Reflecting California’s Gold Rush roots, mining and mineral extraction are popular majors for early Berkeley students.
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1924: Hesse Hall

The newly completed Hesse Hall houses the growing college. The building provides space for a motor, generator, radio labs and test rooms.
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1931: The College of Engineering is established

The colleges of Mechanics and Civil Engineering merge to form the College of Engineering, and electrical engineering becomes a department in the new college.
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1942: War time

The college plays an important role in the World War II effort, even as male enrollment drops more than 50 percent under the pressures of military enlistment.
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1945: An emerging world-class research institution

The breakneck pace of research and innovation during World War II sets a new standard. Industry and government partnerships prove mutually beneficial for the translation of academic research into technologies available to the public.
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1950: Cory Hall

Berkeley’s first building to be built in the Modernist style is designed to house the growing electrical engineering department.
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1950: Postwar boom

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering takes shape.
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1955: Naval research

Efficiency in naval architecture research.
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1956: Optimizing industry

The growing industrial demand for optimization and management strategies in the booming economic growth of the 1950s leads to the development of the Industrial Engineering Department, which eventually becomes the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.
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1958: Pioneering prosthetic research

During the late 1950s, Berkeley engineers begin biomechanical and prosthetic research. Advances in devices and technology translate into improving the quality of life for end users.
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1958: Nuclear Engineering is born

The Department of Nuclear Engineering is founded on the Berkeley campus.
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1960s: Research in miniature

Early research in microelectronics sets the stage for the future growth of the computer and electronic technology industries that become part of California’s economy and identity.
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1961: GFCI invented

Charles Dalziel, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, invents the ground-fault circuit interrupter, a device now found in virtually every home and building to protect people from electrical shocks caused by defects in appliances or grounding systems.
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1966: Etcheverry Hall

Etcheverry Hall opens, housing the departments of mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering and industrial engineering and operations research.
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1968: Douglas Engelbart gives 'the mother of all demos'

Douglas Engelbart, who earned two graduate degrees in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley, outlines the future of the information age in a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration.
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1969: UNIX

UNIX, a computer operating system used worldwide and foundational to the modern internet, is created by two friends who wanted to play a computer game.
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1971: The start of startups

Cetus, the world’s first biotechnology company, is founded by Donald Glaser, a Berkeley professor and 1960 Nobel Prize winner in physics who later took up the study of molecular biology.
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1972: Integrated circuits

A team led by EECS professor Donald Pederson develops the Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) — a tool that, along with its derivatives, has been used in the design of almost every integrated circuit since its invention.
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1973: EE becomes EECS

The electrical engineering department grows to encompass computer science, officially becoming the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS).
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1977: Open-source movement

Graduate student Bill Joy develops Berkeley UNIX and the Berkeley Software Distribution System.
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1978: Women in engineering

WICSE, the student group Women in Computer Science and Engineering, is founded in 1977, and holds its first conference on the Berkeley campus the following year.
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1980: Bechtel Engineering Center

Construction is completed on the Bechtel Engineering Center, located in the heart of the engineering section of campus.
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1981: Cheaper, faster and simpler CPUs

EECS professor David Patterson develops the “reduced instruction set computer.”
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1985: Richard Karp

Karp, a professor of mathematics, computer science and operations research, wins the Turing Award for his work on the theory of algorithms.
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1986: Nuclear-free Berkeley

The city of Berkeley goes nuclear free, forcing the closure of the research reactor in Etcheverry Hall.
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1988: MEMS

Along with his graduate students, Richard Muller, professor of EECS, produces the first electrically powered, microscopic motor, no larger than the width of a human hair. This micro-machine helps spawn the field of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).
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1989: William Kahan

Kahan, a professor of mathematics and EECS, receives a Turing Award for his work on floating point computation.
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1990: Engineer and chancellor

Chang-Lin Tien, a longtime member of the mechanical engineering faculty, becomes chancellor of Berkeley.
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1994: Soda Hall

The construction of Soda Hall, which houses computer science research, is complete.
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1998: Birth of Berkeley bioengineering

Professor Tom Budinger is the founding chair for Berkeley’s brand-new Department of Bioengineering.
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1998: Claire Tomlin

EECS professor Claire Tomlin is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship to expand her work in unmanned aerial vehicles and air traffic control.
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2002: Ruzena Bajcsy

EECS professor Ruzena Bajcsy is named one of Discover magazine’s 50 Most Important Women in Science for her pioneering work in robotics.
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2006: Blum Center

The Blum Center for Developing Economies is launched, focusing on studying developing economies and designing sustainable technologies as a strategy to alleviate poverty.
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2007: Stanley Hall

The new Stanley Hall opens, home to the bioengineering department's labs, offices and classrooms.
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2008: CellScope

Bioengineering professor Dan Fletcher and his students develop the CellScope, a tool capable of turning a smartphone into a diagnostic tool for tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases.
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2009: Sutardja Dai Hall

Sutardja Dai Hall opens and becomes the home for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.
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2009: Maneesh Agrawala

Agrawala, an EECS professor, is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for his work on creating better visual interfaces to aid the comprehension of large amounts of data.
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2010: Dawn Song

Song, an EECS professor, is awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on computer security.
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2010: Fung Institute

The Coleman Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership enrolls its first master of engineering students.
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2011: The Austin Whitney project

Austin Whitney and the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory make history at Berkeley’s commencement ceremony.
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2012: California Memorial Stadium retrofit

A team of Berkeley Engineering faculty, working as part of the campus seismic review committee, advise on the retrofitting of Memorial Stadium, which sits directly astride the Hayward Fault.
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2013: Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

Paul Jacobs, EECS alumnus and executive chairman of Qualcomm Inc., takes the stage of the Clinton Global Initiative in June to announce he is donating $20 million to the university to build the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.
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2014: Translational medicine

Berkeley’s first master of translational medicine degree is awarded.
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2014: Girls in Engineering

Girls in Engineering launches its first summer program for middle school girls. The program is designed to inspire future engineering leaders by exposing participants to hands-on, team-based projects while emphasizing leadership and engineering in a societal context.
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2015: Jacobs Hall

Jacobs Hall opens as the headquarters of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. The 24,000-square-foot building was constructed at a cost of $25 million, which was funded entirely by philanthropy.
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2016: Engineering and business program launches

The Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program at the College of Engineering and the Haas School of Business is a fully integrated, simultaneous degree program.
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2016: Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence

A new center focusing on AI and human interactions opens.
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150 years of innovation

As UC Berkeley marks its sesquicentennial, Berkeley Engineering joins in celebrating the university's 150th anniversary.
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