As I write this letter, I am sitting in my kitchen at home (or sometimes on the couch) practicing social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. Like everyone else, I am thinking about when we can return to our normal lives and, like other scientists, how I miss being able to do the research that I love. Since I can’t do science in person, I’ve been consuming a lot of science news stories, especially those about coronavirus. I’ve learned incredibly useful information from some of these articles and podcasts. But I’ve also encountered many pieces full of dubious or confusing information, which has strengthened my belief that we need more good science writers who make their voices heard. The Berkeley Science Review strives to be an outlet for some of those writers.
In this issue, as always, the BSR features amazing research from many different scientific fields in an effort to demystify the important work Berkeley scientists do. “Balancing the carbon budget” discusses how oceans are able to pull carbon from the atmosphere, though not without complicated consequences. “Provably beneficial artificial intelligence” tackles the challenge of incorporating AI into human society. “Monarch McFly: Back to the evolutionary future” and “Insect’s repellent” cover clever new ways of studying evolution. And “Space heater” shows us that something thought to be physically impossible is real.
I would also like to highlight an important celebration going on at UC Berkeley this year. It has been 150 years since the UC Regents resolved to consider applications from men and women equally. In solidarity with the Women 150 celebration, I invite the readers to reflect on all the discoveries and contributions women have made to the science covered in these pages. In particular, take a look at the Faculty Profiles to read about four of the amazing female professors at UC Berkeley: Mary K. Gaillard, Naomi Ginsberg, Dipti Nayak, and Priya Moorjani.
And as you read through this issue of the Berkeley Science Review and enjoy the accompanying illustrations, I’d like you to think of all the women who have contributed to making the BSR a fantastic publication over the years. There are a few women in particular that I’d like to highlight for their hard work on the BSR this semester. Our Art Director, Emily Gonthier, has led our design team over the past year to produce two beautiful magazines and helped move the BSR forward as an organization. Maya Emmons-Bell, our Managing Editor, has kept the critical behind-the-scenes operations of the BSR running smoothly. Our stellar blog Editor in Chief, Emilia Zin, has worked tirelessly over the past few years to oversee the BSR blog and keep our website running smoothly.
This is Emilia’s last semester with us and her shoes will be hard to fill. And lastly, Katie Deets has supported me in my transition to the role of Editor in Chief.
I would like to extend huge thanks to everyone who contributed financially to the BSR this year. We greatly appreciate all of the donations received from individuals and campus departments. Every little bit is critical for us to keep printing the magazine and making our content accessible. Finally, thank you to the Karmon family, which has contributed to the BSR for many years. We are incredibly grateful to have your support.
Cheers to all the women scientists at UC Berkeley. And I hope all of our readers are staying well.
Enjoy Issue 38 of the Berkeley Science Review!