From the Editor

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the 23rd issue of the Berkeley Science Review.  As you peruse your fresh copy, I encourage you to think small.  Today, perhaps more than ever, UC Berkeley is a hub for explorations of the miniature and miniscule, as reflected by the terrific articles we’ve collected for you in Issue 23.

Zooming in on the world of pathogens in “Germ Warfare” , Sam Sternberg details the surprising discovery of an advanced bacterial immune system. Defying conventional knowledge, simple bacteria are able to genetically self-vaccinate in a back-and-forth battle with voracious viruses.  In “Manipulative Microbes”, Teresa Lee recounts the eerie influence that parasites and microorganisms can have on behavior in animals, including humans. Feeling a satisfying euphoria (or a visceral disgust) grip you while reading our magazine? It could be your lunch, as much as our authors’ prose, that’s controlling your mood.

Berkeley researchers are also working hard to maintain control over a rapidly changing global climate.  “MOFiosos” , by Zoey Herm, uncovers the efforts of several Berkeley scientists who are trying to trap carbon dioxide in tiny, porous structures called metal organic frameworks. These materials have rallied both fundamental and applied researchers around a cause with impending implications for our planet.  At the same time, some scientists are taking their research beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.  In “FOXSI Fires Up” , Lindsay Glesener shares the experience and Berkeley’s long history of using sounding rockets to send small scale space experiments into orbit.  Be sure to keep up with Lindsay’s account of the FOXSI mission launch on the BSR blog later this year.

But Berkeley scientists aren’t just laboring over the little.  On page eight, Shirali Pandya reports on how the two largest black holes ever observed are even bigger than expected, while Ginger Jui tells us how a giant crater in Arizona might reveal clues about torrents of water flowing on Mars.  Nevertheless, it may be our youngest citizens that deserve the most attention, as Sharmistha Majumdar explains.

Coincidentally, the BSR is also trying to shrink its ecological footprint.  For the second issue in a row, I’m proud that our magazine is printed on partially recycled paper thanks to a generous grant from The Green Initiative Fund.  The effort to make our magazine more sustainable is ongoing, so contact us at with any suggestions.

Lastly, big or small, young or old, our readers are the reason we work so hard on the BSR each semester.  Please help us serve you better by filling out our readership survey. As a token of our appreciation, you’ll be eligible for several fun prizes if you do.  Also, please help recognize and reward our authors by voting for our reader’s choice award at the same URL.

I’d like to thank our incredibly committed team of editors and layout designers for making this issue possible, as well as our authors for their creative and inspiring contributions.  I’m looking forward to Issue 24!


Happy reading,

Sebastien Lounis

Editor in Chief

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