The University of California, Berkeley (also UCB, Cal, Berkeley, or UC Berkeley) is the flagship and original campus of the University of California, situated in Berkeley, California on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, overlooking the Golden Gate. There are over 33,000 students enrolled and over 1,800 faculty.

Sather Gate marks the original southern entrance to the campus, just steps from Sproul Plaza. ()

Table of contents
1 History
2 The campus
3 Notable buildings
4 Academics
5 Organization
6 Computer-related developments
7 Sports and traditions
8 Noted Cal alumni
9 Noted Cal faculty
10 External links


In 1866, the land which is now the Berkeley campus was first purchased by the private College of California (established by Congregational minister Henry Durant in 1855). However, lacking the funds to operate, the College of California merged with state-run Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College, forming the University of California on March 23, 1868, with Durant becoming the first president. The university first opened in Oakland in 1869. In 1873, with the completion of North and South Halls, the university relocated to the Berkeley campus with 167 men and 222 women students enrolled.

Through the middle decades of the twentieth century, the Berkeley campus enjoyed a golden age in the physical, chemical and biological sciences. During that period, with Professor Ernest O. Lawrence's invention of the cyclotron, researchers affiliated with the campus discovered all the chemical elements heavier than Uranium, garnering a number of Nobel Prizes for these efforts along the way. Two of the elements, Berkelium and Californium, were named in honor of the university. Another two, Lawrencium and Seaborgium, were named in honor of faculty members Ernest O. Lawrence and Glenn T. Seaborg.

During the McCarthy era in 1949, the Board of Regents adopted an anti-communist loyalty oath to be signed by all University of California employees. A number of faculty members firmly took a stand against the oath requirement and were eventually dismissed. They were reinstated with full honor a few years later; one of them, Edward C. Tolman the noted comparative psychologist now has a building on the campus named after him (it houses the departments of psychology and education).

The University gained notoriety worldwide nearly a century after its founding for the student body's active protests against United States involvement in the Vietnam War. This period of social unrest on campus could be traced to the Free Speech Movement, which originated on the Berkeley campus in 1964 and inspired the political and moral outlook of a generation.

The campus

View of campus looking north, with
Sather Tower and Evans Hall visible, and the Berkeley Hills in the distance. ()

Overall area of the campus is 1,232 acres, though the main campus, where the academic buidings are located, is on the lower 178 acres. The main campus is shaped like a rectangle, with the two long sides running east to west. Except for designated open areas, the entire rectangle has been developed. Overlooking the main campus on the east side are several research units, most notably the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, and Lawrence Hall of Science. Much of the rugged upper hill area is still undeveloped. Residence halls and administrative buildings spill out into the city of Berkeley, particularly to the south of the campus.

The campus layout was designed by Emile Benard, the winner of a world-wide competition sponsored by Phoebe Apperson Hearst in the early 1900s.

Notable buildings

The campus and surrounding community host a number of notable buildings by turn-of-the-20th century architects Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan. Historic buildings on campus include Sproul Hall, Hearst Mining Building, the Faculty Club, Doe Library, California Hall, Gilman Hall, Hilgard Hall, Wheeler Hall, and the Hearst Women's Gymnasium.

University House on the north side of campus is home to chancellor, and the bank in front is landscaped with flowers forming a working clock. Before administrative reorganization and the creation of individual campus chancellors, the UC President resided in University House.

The oldest building on campus is South Hall, built in 1873. Together with North Hall (which was destroyed in a fire), it was one of the first two buildings on campus. The university's tallest building is 307 Sather Tower, a bell and clock tower also known as the Campanile (resembling the one in Venice). Sather Gate is the main southern entrance to campus, close to busy Sproul Plaza and Telegraph Avenue.

Evans Hall is the mathematics, statistics, and economics building. It is a gray-green structure rising ten floors. It once held the office of Ted Kaczynski when he was an assistant professor of math. As one of the tallest buildings on campus, the building became notorious as a "suicide building." Following a suicide by jumping in 2002, glass panels were installed on previously-open balconies on the tenth floor. The building's height and color cause many students to label it the ugliest building on campus.

Cory Hall is the electrical engineering building. It was the site of two attacks by the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, in 1982 and 1985.

Soda Hall is the computer science building. It is the only classroom building on campus with showers. Completed in August 1994, Soda Hall was a $35.5 million project, funded entirely by private gifts to the College of Engineering.


Berkeley has graduated more students who go on to earn doctorates than any university in the country. UC Berkeley ranks third in the nation among all institutions with students who are National Merit Scholars.

The University currently boasts 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 8 Nobel Prize winners, 2 Fields Medal holders, 138 Guggenheim Fellows, 81 Fulbright Scholars, 3 Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 MacArthur Fellows, 62 Sloan Fellows among a bevy of distinguished faculty.

According to the National Research Council, Berkeley ranks first nationally in the number of graduate programs in the top 10 in their fields and first nationally in the number of "distinguished" programs for the scholarship of the faculty.

With about nine million volumes, Berkeley's library holdings rank 4th in North America, after the Library of Congress, Harvard University, and Yale University.

Among the traditional colleges found in a liberal arts setting one will find a number of scholarly and active institutions among Berkeley schools. The engineering college in close relationship with the computer science and mathematics departments offers one of the most rigorous programs in the nation, comparable to those at Stanford University, a geographic rival, and MIT. In computer science, Berkeley has had much success in securing funds and heavily invested projects for its faculty and graduate students in research and business development. Its programs for computer science are grueling and intense but very fruitful in respects to Berkeley rivals MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford. Its position as the leader in mathematic and CS theory has attracted scholarly leadership and interest world-wide.

The professional schools at Berkeley, Haas Business and Boalt Hall Law School, have also held reputations as some of the most innovative and productive schools in the nation. Haas Business is especially known for its training of some of the most interesting management types even if its abilities to help its graduates land jobs are staggered by the impression of public education's mediocrity. Yet Scholarship still oozes heavily from the business school. The faculty are among the most gifted. The business school shares a unique relationship with Columbia University in which a divided MBA program is completed in residence between the two school schools and respective resident cities, and taught by a split faculty from the two schools.


Berkeley campus seal is a
trademark owned by the
UC Regents.


Here is a full list of Chancellors since the position was created in 1952:

  1. Clark Kerr (1952-1958)
  2. Glenn T. Seaborg (1958-1961)
  3. Edward W. Strong (1961-1965)
  4. Martin E. Meyerson (1965, acting)
  5. Roger W. Heyns (1965-1971)
  6. Albert H. Bowker (1971-1980)
  7. Ira Michael Heyman (1980-1990)
  8. Chang-Lin Tien (1990-1997)
  9. Robert M. Berdahl (1997-present)

See also: List of UC Presidents

Colleges and schools

Berkeley's more than 130 academic departments and programs are organized into 14 colleges and schools:

  • Haas School of Business
  • College of Chemistry
  • Graduate School of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Environmenal Design
  • School of Information Management
  • Graduate School of Journalism
  • Law School (Boalt Hall)
  • College of Letters and Science
  • College of Natural Resources
  • School of Optometry
  • School of Public Health
  • Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
  • School of Social Welfare

Computer-related developments

Cal has nurtured a number of key technologies associated with the early development of the Internet and the Open Source Software movement. The original Berkeley Software Distribution, commonly known as BSD Unix, was assembled in 1977 by Bill Joy as a graduate student in the computer science department. PostgreSQL emerged from faculty research begun in the late 1970s. SendMail was developed at Berkeley in 1981. BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain package) was written by a team of graduate students around the same time period. The Tcl programming language and the Tk GUI toolkit were developed by faculty member John Ousterhout in 1988. SPICE, a popular tool for IC Designers, was also invented at Berkeley under the direction of Professor Donald Pederson.

In 1992, Pei-Yuan Wei, an undergraduate, created ViolaWWW, one of the first graphically-based web browsers. ViolaWWW was the first browser to have embedded scriptable objects, stylesheets, and tables. In the spirit of Open Source, he merely donated the code to Sun Microsystems, thus inspiring Java applets. ViolaWWW would also inspire researchers at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications to create the Mosaic web browser.

SETI@home was one of the first widely disseminated distributed computing projects, allowing hobbyists and enthusiasts to participate in scientific research by donating unused computer processor cycles in the form of a screen saver.

In an interesting example of the confluence of intellectual ideas, many of the arguments for the efficacy of Open Source software development, and of the Wikipedia project itself, find parallels in writings on urban planning and architecture published in the late 1970s by Christopher Alexander, a Berkeley professor of architecture. Across campus around that same time period, John Searle, a Berkeley professor of philosophy, introduced a celebrated critique of artificial intelligence using the metaphor of a Chinese Room.

List of research projects conducted at Berkeley:

  • Daedalus project - Combine intelligent adaptive applications with smart networking software that can multiplex connections over a wide variety of different networking technologies.
  • Digital library project
  • GiST - A Generalized Search Tree for Secondary Storage
  • Harmonia research project - open interactive programming tools
  • Sather - Object oriented language derivered from Eiffel programming language

Sports and traditions

Cal's sports teams compete as the California Golden Bears (often referred to as "Cal"). They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A, and in the Pacific Ten Conference. The annual football "Big Game" between the Bears and the rival Stanford Cardinal is the most important game on Cal's schedule. The winner of this game gains custody of the Axe.

Cal's independent student-run newspaper is the Daily Californian.

The official school colors, Yale Blue and California Gold, were established in 1874. Yale Blue was chosen because most of the original faculty were Yale University graduates. Gold was selected to represent the Golden Gate, which the campus overlooks.

The official mascot is Oski T. Bear, who first debuted in 1941. Previously, live bear cubs were used as mascots at Memorial Stadium. It was decided in 1940 that a costumed mascot would be a better alternative to a live bear. Named after the Oski-wow-wow yell, he is cared for by the Oski Committee. The wearer of the costume is kept a secret. It is the tradition to have the basketball player with the largest feet donate his shoes for Oski to wear.

The Associated Students of the University of California, or ASUC, is the student government organization that controls funding for student groups and organizes on-campus student events.

Noted Cal alumni

(Alumni who also served as faculty deferred to next list)

Noted Cal faculty

(Alumni indicated with degree and year in parenthesis)

One of the perks of being a Nobel laureate: a lifetime reserved parking space on campus.

  • George A. Akerlof - Nobel laureate (2001, economics), Professor of Economics
  • Luis W. Alvarez - Nobel laureate (1968, physics), Professor of Physics, Emeritus
  • Melvin Calvin - Nobel laureate (1961, chemistry), University Professor of Chemistry, discovered Calvin Cycle
  • Owen Chamberlain - Nobel laureate (1959, physics), Professor of Physics
  • Robert E. Connick (Ph.D 1942) - professor emeritus of chemistry, dean of college of chemistry, vice-chancellor
  • Donald Davidson - philosopher, Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
  • Gerard Debreu - Nobel laureate (1983, economics), Professor of Economics and of Mathematics
  • William F. Giauque (B.S. 1920, Ph.D. 1922) - Nobel laureate (1949, chemistry)
  • Donald A. Glaser - Nobel laureate (1950, physics), Professor of Molecular Biology and of Physics
  • John C. Harsanyi - Nobel laureate (1994, economics)
  • Theodore Kaczynski - the Unabomber, Assistant Professor of Math
  • William Kahan - recipient of the 1989 Turing Award
  • Clark Kerr (Ph.D. 1939) - Professor of Industrial Relations, Chancellor (1952-58), UC President (1958-67)
  • Maxine Hong Kingston (B.A 1962) - author, Senior Lecturer
  • Alfred Kroeber - professor of anthropology
  • Ernest O. Lawrence - Nobel laureate (1939, physics)
  • Yuan T. Lee (Ph.D 1962) - Nobel laureate (1986, chemistry), Professor of Chemistry, Principal Investigator, Materials and Molecular Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • G.N. Lewis - Dean of the College of Chemistry, professor of physical chemistry
  • Willard Libby (B.S 1931, Ph.D 1930) - Professor of Chemistry, Nobel laureate (1960, chemistry)
  • Bernard Maybeck - drawing instructor (1894), professor of architecture (1898-1903)
  • Edwin M. McMillan - Nobel laureate (1951, chemistry), Professor of Physics, Director, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • Daniel L. McFadden - Nobel laureate (2000, economics)
  • Czeslaw Milosz - Nobel laureate (1980, literature), Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, Emeritus
  • John H. Northrop - Nobel laureate (1946, chemistry)
  • Robert Oppenheimer - Professor of Physics, Director of Manhattan Project
  • Andreas Papandreou - Professor and Chair of Economics, Prime Minister of Greece
  • Emilio G. Segrč - Nobel laureate (1959, physics), Professor of Physics, Emeritus
  • Julian Schwinger - theoretical physicist, National Research fellow
  • Dana Scott (B.S 1954) - computer scientist, recipient of the 1976 Turing Award, Associate Professor of Math
  • Glenn T. Seaborg (Ph.D 1937) - nobel laureate (1951, chemistry), University Professor of Chemistry, Associate Director, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Chancellor, Berkeley campus (1958-1961)
  • Wendell M. Stanley - Nobel laureate (1946, chemistry)
  • Edward Teller - "father" of the Hydrogen bomb, Professor of Physics
  • Chang-Lin Tien - University Professor Emeritus (UC system), NEC Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Chancellor of Berkeley campus (1990-1997)
  • Charles H. Townes - Nobel laureate (1964, physics), University Professor of Physics, Emeritus

External links

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