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A podcast that features lectures, conversations, discussions and presentations from UC Berkeley. It's managed by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

A podcast that features lectures, conversations, discussions and presentations from UC Berkeley. It's managed by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
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A podcast that features lectures, conversations, discussions and presentations from UC Berkeley. It's managed by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.




Professor Rucker Johnson on why school integration works

Brown v. Board of Education was hailed as a landmark decision for civil rights. But decades later, many consider school integration a failure. UC Berkeley professor Rucker C. Johnson's new book Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works shows the exact opposite is true. The book looks at decades of studies to show that students of all races who attended integrated schools fared better than those who did not. In this interview with Goldman School of Public Policy Dean Henry E. Brady,...


Rev. William J. Barber II: 'Forward together, not one step back'

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is a pastor and social justice advocate building a broad-based grassroots movement, grounded in the moral tenets of faith-based communities and the constitution, to confront systemic racism, poverty, environmental devastation, the war economy and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism in America today. Barber delivered the closing keynote speech on April 10 at the 2019 Othering & Belonging conference, organized by the Haas Institute for a Fair...


Jennifer Doudna on the future of gene editing

Jennifer Doudna spoke at UC Berkeley's International House on Feb. 21, 2019, about the revolutionary gene-editing tool she co-invented, CRISPR-Cas9. Our technological capacity to make changes to genomic data has expanded exponentially since the 2012 discovery of CRISPR-Cas9 as an RNA-programmable genome editing tool. Over the past seven years, this genome editing platform has been used to revolutionize research, develop new agricultural crops and even promises to cure genetic diseases....


Calculating your carbon footprint and the Cool Campus Challenge

1.5 degrees Celsius. That's the maximum global temperature increase allowable before we see catastrophic impacts on food security, ecosystems, water access, frequency and extremity of weather events, according to a special 2018 report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report warns global leaders and policymakers that failing to limit the earth’s temperature increase will result in a world that is unrecognizable – and extremely difficult to live in. Given the...


Product engineer Amy Heineike on how humans and machines interact with AI

Amy Heineike is the vice president of product engineering at Primer AI. One area the company is active in is around news data and news cycles — they model the contrasting narratives that people are telling around global stories using millions of statistical observations about entities and their relationships. Another area that they’re active in is around Wikipedia — human-written summaries and maintaining these summaries is extremely time intensive and Primer AI has formulated approaches to...


Programmer and author Ellen Ullman on her life in code

Ellen Ullman is a computer programmer, essayist on technology and culture and an author of four books — two nonfiction and two novels — on the human side of technology. Her most recent book, Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology, in 2007 was named by the San Francisco Chronicle among the best books of the year. Life in Code bookends her earlier work, in 1997, where that was named Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, recounting life as a woman technologist amongst...


Neurobiologist David Presti on the ritual use of psychoactive plants

For millennia, humans have cultivated deep relationships with psychoactive plants — relationships embedded within and guided by ritual frameworks honoring the powers of these plants as allies. As cultures have evolved, so also have these plant-human interactions, often in ways that are highly interdependent. David Presti, who teaches neurobiology, psychology and cognitive science at UC Berkeley, gave an opening talk March 21 for the Lounge Lecture Series at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of...


Poet Tarfia Faizullah reads from 'Registers of Illuminated Villages'

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (2018) and Seam (2014). Faizullah has won a VIDA Award, a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Milton Kessler First Book Award, Drake University Emerging Writer Award and other honors. Her poems have been published widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, including Poetry Magazine, Guernica, Tin House and The Nation. They are translated into Persian, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil and Spanish, and have been...


Author Ashton Applewhite on counteracting ageism

Ashton Applewhite, named one of PBS Next Avenue’s Influencers in Aging and author of the breakaway new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, share her own personal experiences with ageism — defined as “treating a person differently on the basis of age" and discusses her work, which explores ageism’s destructive impact on individuals, our communities and our policies. Chronological age is often a key factor in decision-making about treatment for physical and mental health; or...


Jimmy López on composing 'Dreamers' oratorio inspired by Berkeley undocumented students

Composer Jimmy López, who earned his Ph.D. in music from UC Berkeley in 2012, speaks about Dreamers, an oratorio he was commissioned by Cal Performances to write that is informed by interviews held with undocumented students at UC Berkeley. The piece was written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, who created the libretto. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director designate of the San Francisco Symphony, conducted the world premiere performance of Dreamers in...


Michael Pollan with Dacher Keltner on the new science of psychedelics

In his latest book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan turns his focus to psychedelics — LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and the like — exploring their history, use, and potential to help people not only transcend, but also treat conditions from addiction to anxiety. On March 5, 2019, Pollan joined Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and founder of the Greater Good Science Center, for a conversation about the book. This talk was recorded by Educational Technology...


Talk Policy to Me: The California housing crisis

NIMBYism, geographical limitation and weaponized policies have led California to the biggest housing crisis in state history. Can state-level policies fix a very local problem? California housing is an undeniable problem. Rents are too high and there is not enough housing for those who need it in the places they want it. But how did we get here? Why has the development of solutions shifted from a city level to a state level? UC Berkeley MPP student Spencer Bowen speaks with Ophelia Basgal...


Professor Michael Omi on racial classification in the census

How are individuals and groups racially classified? What are the meanings attached to different racial categories? And what impact do these categories have on a range of policies and practices? Taking the U.S. Census as a site of racial classification, Michael Omi, a professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, examines the shifting state definitions of race and how individuals and groups assert, embrace, reject and negotiate different racial categories and identities. Michael Omi is...


Year of the woman: Panel on the recent rise of women in politics

National analysts have noted the sharply increased number of women running for elective office in 2018, especially among Democrats. In a panel discussion, “Year of the Woman?," Nicole Boucher, co-executive director of the California Donor Table; Mary Hughes, a democratic strategist and founder of Close the Gap California; and Amanda Renteria, chair of Emerge America examines the phenomenon in the California context and whether it's likely to continue in future election cycles. The discussion...


Dancer Akram Khan on performing the unimaginable, theater of war

Dancer/choreographer Akram Khan appeared in the West Coast premiere of XENOS, a Cal Performances co-commission, in Zellerbach Hall on March 2-3, 2019. Khan, who is of British and Bangladeshi descent, is celebrated for physically demanding, visually arresting solo productions that combine Indian kathak with contemporary dance to tell stories through movement. Khan’s full length solo performances of XENOS conjure the despair and alienation suffered by an Indian soldier recruited to fight for...


Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk on reimagining labor law

Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk, author of Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (2016), gave a lecture on Feb. 13, 2019, that examines some of the recent radical changes in the law of the workplace in California and nationwide. She discusses how the transformation of work through the gig economy and through the decline of union presents unprecedented challenges for regulating work for the common good, but how it also presents opportunities for a fresh start. This...


East Bay poet Ari Banias reads new work at Lunch Poems

Ari Banias is the author of Anybody (2016), which was named a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Center USA Literary Award. His poems have appeared in various journals, in Troubling The Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics and as part of the MOTHA exhibition, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects. Banias is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and...


Richard Rothstein on how our government segregated America

Richard Rothstein, a fellow of the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley and author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, gave a lecture on Feb. 6, 2019, about the forgotten history of how federal, state and local policy segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. This lecture was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong...


Panel discussion: The Changing California Electorate

In a panel discussion, "The Changing California Electorate," Lisa García Bedolla, the director of Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies; Kristin Olsen, a Republican who served on the California State Assembly from 2010-2016; Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at USC; and Dan Schnur, director of the Sacramento Bee California Influencer series examine the changing demographics of California's population and electorate, the impact of the changes in 2018 and...


Professor Tina Sacks on maintaining social welfare programs in the Trump era

What are some of the current challenges to maintaining social welfare programs for the nation's most vulnerable people in the Trump era? Tina Sacks, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare, gave a lecture on this topic on Jan. 30, 2019, as part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Sacks's fields of interest include racial disparities in health, social determinants of health, race, class and gender and poverty and...