Rachel BernsteinMary Grace LinAdrienne McKeeFrankie MyersRobin PadillaShirali Pandya
Nicole BennettAzeen GhorayshiAsako MiyakawaOrapim TulyathanTerry Yen
Welcome to the rst issue o a new decade. While we can’t oresee what the next ten years will bring,one thing is certain: UC Berkeley scientists are setting out with ambitious projects and high hopes orthe uture. In the physics department, particle theorists are on a quest or a “Theory o Everything:”one that reconciles the currently conficting theories o gravity and quantum mechanics and reducesall o physics to one single, elegant idea— Phuongmai Truong takes you through it on page 32. Mean-while, researchers in the astronomy department are trying to answer the age-old question “Are wealone?” by searching or Earth-like planets as part o NASA’s Kepler mission—Linda Strubbe explainshow on page 14. Could there be lie on other planets? It might not take much: scientists at LawrenceBerkeley National Laboratory have discovered an organism that can survive all by itsel without light,oxygen, or most nutrients (p. 13). And speaking o weird creatures and unamiliar lie orms, MichelMaharbiz and his colleagues in the electrical engineering department are developing remote controlled“cyborg beetles” as part o a DARPA-unded project—Sisi Chen surveys military involvement in insectresearch on page 35. While some UC Berkeley scientists are pursuing ambitious uturistic ideas, others are delving deepinto the past, yielding surprising new insights about our origins. In a project that has taken almost20 years to reach completion, researchers have unearthed Ardi, our 4.4 million-year-old ancestor andthe oldest hominid skeleton ever discovered. Among other things, Ardi calls into question the widelyaccepted idea that we evolved rom chimpanzees—Rachel Bernstein has the ull story on page 18.Further insights into evolution come rom research in the integrative biology department—on page 12Robert Gibboni explains how scientists can use fy genetics to learn about the mechanisms o evolutionat the molecular level.Besides designing the uture and dissecting the past, UC Berkeley scientists are also spending theirtime making the present a better place. Reporting rom the eld on page 28, Richard Novak describeshow a group o UC graduate students and San Francisco–based engineers traveled to the Amazon toteach kids about science. On a more local level, three physics graduate students have ounded a pro-gram to help underrepresented students in the physical science navigate academic lie—read about iton page 9. And in the bioengineering department, scientists are using their knowledge o biomaterialsto develop new avenues or stem cell therapy (p. 24).Putting together this issue o the
has been incredibly un and rewarding. The magazine would notbe possible without the dedication and enthusiasm o the student volunteers who write, edit, design,and illustrate its articles, and I’m very grateul to have worked with such a talented set o individuals.I would like to especially thank Rachel Bernstein or her continued support and Marek Jakubowski,together with his layout team, or making it all come together so beautiully.Enjoy the issue,Hania Köver
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UC Berkeley researchers unearth the oldest hominid skeleton to date, shedding new light on humanity’s evolutionary past. Front and back coverdrawing by Colleen Kirkhart or
; design by Marek Jakubowski.