Berkeley - One of California's great public treasures will throw open its doors on Saturday, April 20, as Cal Day 2002 - the University of California, Berkeley's annual open house - welcomes an anticipated 30,000 visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for hundreds of activities, many of them free, including arts and cultural events, tours, lectures, and athletic competitions.
New events this year will include Nobel Laureate and UC Berkeley professor George Akerlof delivering the acceptance speech he gave in Stockholm last December; a chance to see UC Berkeley's new football coach, Jeff Tedford, and the 2002 team; "auditions" at the Lawrence Hall of Science to be a dinosaur in an upcoming movie; and guided, hard-hat tours of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, now under renovation.
Also featured will be events exploring the implications of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and U.S. military readiness, including an analysis by engineering professor Hassan Astaneh-Asl of the collapse of World Trade Center construction.
In addition, Cal Day offers the public a chance to view, in one special day, campus museum collections and laboratories usually open just to researchers. "You'd never be able to see or do a lot of this otherwise," said Diana Musto, Cal Day coordinator at UC Berkeley's Office of Public Affairs, which manages the event. "And there is something for everyone."
Traditional favorites at Cal Day include the Army ROTC rappelling clinic, with opportunities to descend UC Berkeley's four-story Wheeler Hall in a harness; a food and culture fest at International House; a chance to get hands-on with insects at the Essig Museum of Entomology, and the chemistry department's magic show.
"It really is a fun time for all ages," said chemistry professor Angelica Stacy, a co-host of that show. "The kids become part of the show as they have such great reactions to what happens when they are standing up front." Gun powder races, in which flames streak over ignited trails of fuel, are always a favorite, she said, and explosions and dramatic effects of all kinds are cheered on by the audience, who learn a bit about chemical reactions in the process.
Prospective college students of any age can drop by the "Kindergarten to College" resource fair, organized to help students and their families prepare for college, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dwinelle Plaza. Busloads of middle school students will be brought to campus by UC Berkeley's Early Academic Outreach Program and the Office of Public Affairs to learn about college opportunities and the more than 70 outreach programs on campus. Parents can begin planning for summer programs, and teachers for professional development activities, at the many information booths.
Residence halls and student facilities will be open for tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Newly-admitted students and their families are invited to hear Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl welcome them to campus at the Haas Pavilion at 8:30 a.m. and enjoy information sessions on academic programs, financial aid, housing and other campus services.
For an overview of campus, hop on a motorized cable car for a 30-minute tour as student guides point out history and highlights. Stop off to explore places along the way, including UC Berkeley museums, which offer free admission on Cal Day. This year, the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a sensational display of rarely-seen artifacts, open for viewing from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Or meet T. Rex and tour the Museum of Paleontology from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., attend Family Day with artists and musicians at the Berkeley Art Museum; or explore the libraries and see original Mark Twain manuscripts and rare footage of Twain himself in an event hosted by experts from the Mark Twain Project.
Sporting events include skate boarding clinics and wall climbs, as well as a football scrimmage by the 2002 Golden Bear team at 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium. Gymnastics demonstrations will be held at Dana Court in front of Haas Pavilion.
Faculty lectures are ongoing all day. Besides the Nobel event with George Akerlof, the recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, who will speak from 1 to 2 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium, scheduled highlights include:
* "Tall Buildings: Proud Achievements or Hubris? Lessons from the World Trade Center." What did we learn about tall building design - and vulnerability - from the collapse of the World Trade Center? How can we use these lessons to protect other tall buildings? Professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, 502 Davis Hall, 11 a.m. to noon.
* "Bipedal Bugs, Galloping Ghosts, and Gripping Geckos: Bio-Inspiration for Computer Animation, Adhesives, Artificial Muscles, and Robots." How do animals and bugs move the way they do, and what can we learn from them to make our human world better? Professor Robert Full, 2040 Valley Life Sciences Building, 11 a.m. to noon.
* "Planets and Prospects for Life in the Universe." Under what conditions could alien life survive on planets? Hear the latest on the possibility of life-bearing planets in our quadrant of the galaxy. Professor Geoffrey Marcy, 4 LeConte Hall, 2 to 3 p.m.
UC Berkeley's first open house was held on the university's centennial in 1968. "People loved it so much, the campus decided to bring it back every five years," said Musto, of Public Affairs. Today, the event is popular enough to be held every spring.
"I think people would have us do it every month if we could," said Musto. "But unfortunately, we can't. It takes us an entire year to prepare for this. It's really a big, wonderful celebration for the whole Bay Area to enjoy."
Parking is free, but limited. Free shuttles will run all day between downtown Berkeley BART and campus attractions. The Campanile bell tower will be closed for tours this season due to planned renovations. For a more complete schedule of events, visit http://www.berkeley.edu/calday/. That site includes a search engine for visitors to research what to see and do at specific times on April 20 and a slide show from last year's event.