Letter from the Editor – Fall 2014

Hello Readers!

I hope Issue 27 of the Berkeley Science Review finds you well. If you caught our last issue, you may have read one of the feature stories, “This is your mind on grad school.” I wanted to let you know that the article was so popular it actually broke our little website (big thanks to Chris Holdgraf for getting everything running smoothly again in no time)! In the week after we released Issue 26, more than 20,000 people visited our website (berkeleysciencereview.com)—ten times the usual traffic we see during a magazine release. So, first and foremost, thank you dear readers for reading and sharing our content! It’s much harder for us to gauge how many people see the print magazine. If you’re reading a hard copy right now, feel free to reach out and email us at sciencereview@gmail.com with any comments, or just to say hi and let us know where you saw the magazine.

Inside this issue you’ll find five great feature articles. In our cover story, “Digital catch and release,” Michael Peterson writes about hippos, vultures, and chipmunks, and how technological innovation has updated ecology research at UC Berkeley. In “Race against resistance,” Cindy Wang teaches about a budding health problem scarier than Ebola. Don’t worry, though, because scientists at UC Berkeley are tackling it like champs. “Old photons, new tricks” by Anna Lieb tells a tale of new astronomical revelations that may help answer age-old questions about the universe.

Making science accessible to the general public is one of the BSR’s core missions. Though public perception of science today is arguably better than it was in Galileo’s day, video clips from US congressional hearings on global warming can be worrisome. In the feature “Public matters,” Catalina Casillas discusses projects at UC Berkeley to engage the public community in science. Author Matt Rubashkin chronicles his own experience as a graduate student teaching Bay Area kids about science in a related “From the field” piece.

At the BSR we do more than write about engaging the public with science. This fall we participated in an annual event called the Bay Area Science Festival. Anyone who stopped by our booth at Discovery Days in AT&T Park could try out the Sonic Eye, an echolocation device for the blind from Sarah Hillenbrand’s feature story, “Sounding out your surroundings.” With Carry the One Radio from UCSF and NeuWrite West from Stanford, we also helped organize the neuroscience room at the California Academy of Sciences’ Halloween-themed nightlife event, which was a huge success! Thank you to Alden Conner for heading up these endeavors.

Sadly, this issue marks my last as Editor in Chief of the magazine. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and I’d like to give a huge thank you to Helene Moorman, who has worked alongside me for the past two issues as our Art Director. This issue is also her last. Taking over as Art Director is Holly Williams, a third year graduate student in chemistry. She began writing for our blog two years ago, and designed this issue’s beautiful cover art! I’m also happy to announce that Anna Lieb will step into the Editor in Chief role. She’s a fourth year graduate student in applied mathematics, who has been writing for the magazine since 2012 and editing for the past year (check out her feature story on page 26). For Anna, writing or editing is a welcome break from staring at computer code all day. I’m excited to see what her passion for science communication brings to the magazine!

Enjoy the issue,

Alexis Fedorchak
Editor in Chief

 

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