Research Highlights

Scientists including Anthropology Professor Tim White report the discovery in Ethiopia of a 4.4 million-year-old prehuman skeleton that may be from a time when the ape-like creatures began walking. Teeth and jaw remains announced in September 1994 are thought to represent the oldest member of the human family.

Law Professor Franklin Zimring reports in a new study for the California Policy Seminar that a substantial investment made during the 1980s in increasing California's jail and prison populations didn't pay off in terms of reducing violent crime.

Professor Lewis Lancaster of East Asian Languages oversees distribution of a CD-ROM computer disk that contains all 115 volumes of the Buddhist canon, making available the ancient wisdom of Buddha in one $299 disk in contrast to a complete set of texts that can cost $12,000.

Molecular and Cell Biology Professor John Gofman estimates that at least two-thirds of breast cancer cases are due to X-rays received up to 60 years ago.

Plant Biology Professor Norman Terry assembles a team of scientists to show that plants can help clean up selenium, one of the major contaminants of agricultural runoff and industrial waste.

A School of Public Health team conducts the first statewide evaluation of health risks from pesticides in drinking water that has revealed a serious problem of contamination in some 50 towns and cities.

Berkeley scientists succeed in miniaturizing one of the crucial steps in the DNA analysis or "fingerprinting" process to the size of a credit card--a key step toward performing DNA analysis cheaply, quickly and reproducibly using portable devices.

Professor Neil Gilbert of Social Welfare predicts that reforming welfare by putting mothers to work is a quick fix that is bound to fail, and these reforms will end up costing far more than current aid to families, while ignoring the fate of children.

Berkeley scientists develop a rust-resistant steel that could save the nation billions now spent to repair or replace concrete bridges and buildings rendered unsafe because their internal skeletons have corroded.

Gretchen Daily of the Energy and Resources Group estimates that nearly half the world's vegetated land has suffered a drop in agricultural productivity in the last 50 years as a result of human activity.

After conducting a four-year experiment, Berkeley scientists determine one likely effect of global warming is the loss of high-elevation meadows to the encroachment of dry-adapted shrubs, such as sagebrush.

A public health study finds that Mexican-born immigrant women are better nourished than the average American woman, probably because their traditional meals contain more beans, meats and vegetables.

Associate Linguistics Professor Leanne Hinton warns that Native Americans in California are working against enormous odds to save their ancestral languages before the last speakers die. She helped launch a master-apprentice language program that will save some languages.


Ronald Takaki, professor of Asian-American Studies, "Hiroshima," examines the controversial question of why the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.

Ben Bagdikian, professor emeritus of journalism, "Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life and Profession."

Arthur Quinn, professor of rhetoric, "The Rivals," shows how anti-immigrant hostility has been a central theme in California history since the days of the Gold Rush.

Clair Brown, professor of economics, "American Standards of Living," shows Americans' standard of living has been rising steadily with the lowest wage earners benefiting most.

Leo Bersani, professor of French, "Homos," studies the historical, political and philosophical grounds for the current distrust within the gay community.

Sarah Warshauer Freedman, professor of education, "Exchanging Writing, Exchanging Cultures," explores the lessons of literacy training in Great Britain.

Ariel Bloch, professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, and Chana Bloch, professor of English at Mills College, "The Song of Songs: A New Translation with an Introduction and Commentary," captures the true spirit of the great love poem in English.

Carol Christ, professor of English and the vice chancellor and provost, and John Jordan of UC Santa Cruz are co-editors of "Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination."

George Poinar, emeritus lecturer of entomology, and Roberta Poinar, "The Quest for Life in Amber," about their decade-long attempt to isolate DNA from insects trapped in amber.


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail