Education & outreach

Wheels of change in South Africa

12/14/10 — More than 9 million South African children walk to school every day. Three million walk for more than an hour, and in the rural countryside, some walk more than four hours. “It's madness,” says Louis de Waal (M.S'72 CEE), who grew up in rural South Africa and spent his professional life designing and building thousands of kilometers of roads there, many of which opened up inaccessible places deep in the country's interior. Now retired, De Waal is on a mission to improve mobility for all South Africans, especially in rural areas. The goal, says the 73-year-old Cape Town resident, is to keep children in school and help adults reach work more easily, ultimately easing poverty and slowing the flood of people forced to move to urban areas for work.

New study on IP strategies advises academics on how to build startups

11/17/10 PRWeb — The Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (CET) at UC Berkeley has published a report providing practical insight on how entrepreneurs implement effective intellectual property strategies while starting technology ventures within an academic setting. Understanding the mechanics of how academics innovate has become critical as universities increasingly replace private laboratories as a primary source of innovation.

Engineering with broad shoulders

11/04/10 — A key tenet of Berkeley Engineering is to educate leaders. To us, engineering leadership extends beyond simply creating new technologies and managing technology innovation. Truly transformative engineering leadership calls for a comprehensive understanding of the economic, legal, social and environmental implications of novel and emerging technologies and services in societal scale systems.

New Blum Center headquarters opens on north side

11/04/10 — With campus and national dignitaries on hand and a sunny Homecoming Friday as a backdrop, the doors of Richard C. Blum Hall officially opened on Friday, October 8. It was a big occasion to celebrate what one project architect called a "little jewel box" of a building, small in scale but grand in its historic origins and its lofty goals. The program it will house also bears the name of Richard C. Blum, Haas alumnus, UC Regent and global philanthropist who championed the center to mobilize Berkeley students and faculty against global poverty.

Singapore launches new CREATE research center with UC Berkeley

10/20/10 Nan Yang Technological University — The National Research Foundation announced today the addition of two new research centers to the CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise) program. UC Berkeley's program will conduct research on "Building Efficiency and Sustainability in the Tropics." Professor S. Shankar Sastry, dean of engineering at UC Berkeley, said, "The M3 (Measuring, Modelling and Mitigation) agenda for energy consumption of new and existing buildings represents an exciting fusion of some of the most novel emerging technologies."

Educating transformational leaders

10/05/10 — Homecoming has a special significance for us this year, as we kick off the weekend on Friday, October 8, with the grand opening of Blum Hall. This dedication represents not only the expansion and renovation of the historic Naval Architecture Building. It is also the culmination of a five-year construction effort that has transformed the north side of campus and provided a new home for the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies.

Inspiring the next generation

09/08/10 — As the fall semester 2010 kicks off, the campus is buzzing not only with students but also with capital improvements at the heart of the Berkeley Engineering quadrant. These projects represent the continuation of our strategic plan to transform the educational experience for our 2,800-plus undergraduates.

Safety in numbers

08/09/10 — One engineer is good. A team of engineers is better. And a team of Berkeley engineers . . . well, you can't get better than that. This is my mantra as I welcome Dean Sastry back, wrap up my six months as acting dean and prepare for my next assignment. It was a privilege to apply at the college's highest level the skills I have acquired in my 27 years here. Everything I brought to the experience-especially my team-building and problem-solving skills-I learned as an engineer, an engineering educator and an engineering administrator.

Engineering across the generations

06/03/10 — On May 16, we sent more than 1,200 newly minted engineers into the world to invent stronger bridges, faster computers, greener energy, safer medicines and a host of other societal solutions. Our commencement ceremony in the Greek Theatre made me especially proud of our Berkeley engineers. They offer a rare blend of deep technical expertise and broad mastery of the human skills necessary to make a genuine impact.

Toys, games, explosions! Engineers reach out to school kids

06/03/10 — BEAM, Berkeley Engineers and Mentors, got its start last year when a group of engineering students saw a need to organize science and engineering outreach to local schools. For years, engineering societies have sent members to K–12 schools to teach concepts and mentor younger students to meet their community service goals. But coordination overlapped or fell short, and lesson plans and best practices often disappeared or got lost in forgotten files. With Berkeley's characteristic can-do spirit, a group of society officers took the initiative to start a club that would remedy the problem.

Department of State launches new tool to foster online open dialogue

03/15/10 Department of State — Opinion Space, an interactive site hosted on that seeks to foster global conversations on foreign affairs, was developed jointly by the Department of State and UC Berkeley's Center for New Media and is accessible to anyone around the world. According to Berkeley Engineering professor and BCNM director Ken Goldberg, "Opinion Space is designed to 'depolarize' discussions by including all participants on a level playing field." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Opinion Space an example of "21st century statecraft."

Science in the Amazon

03/03/10 — The boys from the Amazonian orphanage decided to name themselves Los Científicos. The Scientists. It was a small but monumental achievement for Rick Henrikson and Richard Novak, two Berkeley bioengineering graduate students. The pair cofounded Future Scientist, a tiny but highly motivated aid organization whose mission is to teach science and practical technical skills to young people in rural, developing regions. Last August, Novak, Henrikson and nine other Future Scientists traveled to Peru for their first pilot project: teaching a two-week crash course on pathogenic microorganisms, disease transmission, optics and solar-powered electricity to schoolchildren living along the Amazon River. This slideshow tells their story.

Oh! The Beauty and Joy of Computing

12/15/09 — "Fun. Easy to learn. Can relate to it." That's what students were saying about a new introductory computing course at Berkeley, established by Dan Garcia, Brian Harvey, Colleen Lewis (B.S.'05 EECS) and George Wang, that will alter the way young people perceive the field. Called "The Beauty and Joy of Computing," the two-unit freshman/sophomore seminar teaches non-majors basic programming skills while exploring big picture topics such as abstraction, world-changing applications and the social implications of computing.

The Many Faces of Engineering

08/03/09 — What do you see when you think engineer? Our non-engineering colleagues might envision a middle-aged man at a construction site, sporting a hardhat and poring over a set of plans. But we know that engineering has exploded in recent years due to globalization, the IT and biotech booms, clean energy and a host of other factors. As Lawrence Fisher reports in our spring Forefront ("Engineering evolved"), the field today is so broadly multidisciplinary that new applications require the talents of everyone from "software savants and materials mavens" to "aerospace adepts."

Boarding School: Scientist on Wheels

08/03/09 — Daryl Chrzan, a noted researcher in the field of computational materials science, is a diehard skateboarder. Besides carving the bowls at local skate parks, Chrzan loves to think about the science behind the sport. The Berkeley professor of materials science and engineering considers such questions as the physics involved in stunts, the evolution of the skateboard wheel, the limits of a skateboard's strength and even the g-forces experienced in spectacular spills. For the past two years, Chrzan has posed-and tried to answer-those puzzles in a one-unit freshman seminar called Physics and Materials Science of Skateboarding. His hands-on class puts a new spin on a popular, if educationally unsung pastime.

What’s Ahead for Our Graduates?

06/04/09 — “If you haven't gotten the ideal job yet, don't take any job! Be bold and creative: take a year off. Look for great leadership development opportunities. Become a volunteer math or science teacher in underserved communities in America or in poor villages in Africa, South America or Asia.”

An Invitation – and a Charge

02/02/09 — As we listened to President Obama's inaugural address on January 20, we were encouraged by his remarks emphasizing the role of science. However, the nation's research community would be shortsighted to take these words simply as an invitation to submit funding requests and expand programs. Instead, we must mobilize quickly to identify the most ambitious challenges we are capable of tackling-in other words, our “moon shots” for the 21st century.

Schooling Girls on Real-Life Engineering

01/01/09 — Wielding screwdrivers and shears, a crew of Oakland middle-school girls was doing some serious damage to a pair of hapless computers. The girls pried open a PC tower and a laptop and eagerly began extracting such components as the memory, hard drive and power supply. "This is awesome," said Jessica Nguyen, a sixth grader at Montera Middle School. "It's so much fun to take things apart!" Berkeley Engineering alumnae are volunteering as mentors for Techbridge, an Oakland-based program that introduces girls in grades 5 through 12 to technology, science and engineering with a variety of after-school and summer activities.

Nano Camp is a Macro Hit

09/02/08 — For the average teen, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” doesn't normally involve building a faster supercomputer, perfecting a lab on a chip or designing a device called an optical antenna that sniffs out bomb residue. Thanks to an innovative UC Berkeley summer program, 15 high school students conducted hands-on research on these and other high-flying topics--all linked to groundbreaking nanoscale science and technology work taking place on campus. The Summer High-School Apprenticeship Research Program turns teens into bona fide scientific investigators.

Wired for Success

05/02/08 — For Berkeley-trained Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang, the work of a university chancellor is a lot like engineering. "Think of integrated circuits," says Kang (Ph.D. '75 EECS), who in March began his second year at the helm of UC Merced. Just as a chip relies on a network of connections to operate smoothly, so does a college campus. With that in mind, Kang is taking a collaborative approach to building his young institution into a world-class research university.