UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Cal Day annual open house

– Cal Day, the University of California, Berkeley's annual open house being held this year on Saturday, April 12, offers approximately 35,000 visitors the chance to become a UC Berkeley student for the day.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., one of the world's top public research universities becomes an open classroom for children and adults alike, from around the Bay Area and beyond, and offers the public free admission to more than 300 educational, athletic and just plain fun activities.

Special treats will include lectures by campus experts on topics such as sustainable biofuels and carbon sequestration, archaeological excavations, a timely series on election politics, breathtaking views from atop the Campanile, music ranging from Cal spirit songs to the music of J.S. Bach to contemporary electronica, and displays of T. rex dinosaur bones and the Bear Force One concrete canoe.

There will be a student review of ecological and health findings about bottled and tap water, debates about global health strategies, a presentation about how to mark nuclear waste sites to protect future generations and another about searching cargo containers for nuclear weapons. Also planned are demonstrations of how video games can save lives, and Second Life avatars exploring a 9,000-year-old village in modern Turkey, as well as displays of student-designed, fuel-efficient vehicles and talks by polar explorer Robert Swan.

Visitors also may opt to tour residence and dining halls, stroll the campus tree trail or visit the UC Botanical Garden or Lawrence Hall of Science. They can explore one of the campus's several museums, track campus bear sculptures, zero in on "free range" light-seeking robots that can detect and avoid obstacles in their paths, try a hand at rock art, watch one or more Golden Bears sporting events that will include football, track and field, softball and tennis, or enjoy performances of ballet, Taiko drumming and jazz.

The campus museums and the Lawrence Hall of Science, with its new exhibit on "Speed," all waive the price of admission on Cal Day, the only day of the year that the campus museums of paleontology and vertebrate zoology are open to the public.

Several activities, including a presentation on financial aid, a campus tour and an overview of how to prepare for college - beginning in kindergarten - will be offered in Spanish.

A further sampling of Cal Day's traditional - and sometimes quirky - events include:

A 100th birthday celebration of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Located in the Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB), the museum is open to the public only on Cal Day and houses more than 640,000 specimens of amphibians, reptiles, birds, bird eggs or nests, and mammals. Daring visitors can hold slithering snakes and lizards, or maybe a hedgehog. A 1:30 p.m. seminar explores "Blood, Guts, Bones and Flesh-eating Beetles." All UC Berkeley natural history museums will gather in a special tent on the south entrance of VLSB for hands-on activities for all ages and shows featuring spiders, carnivorous plants, artifacts, puppets and more.

The 14th Celebration of Children's Literature. This 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. event on the second floor of Tolman Hall will begin with book signings by well-known authors and illustrators. Musician Gary Lapow, the costumed character Curious George and storyteller Joel ben Izzy also will perform. P. David Pearson, dean of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education, says reading to kids "brings them into the enchantment of children's literature and the sheer wonder of books, not to mention all the good information they encounter."

OskiLand. The Golden Bears' mascot, Oski, and UC Berkeley athletes will be greeting children and playing games at the east end of Memorial Glade.

Scandinavian smorgasbord. Karen Møller, a lecturer in the Scandinavian Department, says this is the second Cal Day offering of 30-minute "micro-tutorials" on four languages - Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish. Each language, except Finnish, is fairly easy for English speakers to learn, she says. Head west from the department's information table in Dwinelle Plaza after posing for a photo in a cutout of a reprint of Norwegian impressionist painter Edvard Munch's "The Scream," to Room 33 of Dwinelle Hall. The language lessons are from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Brain Gym. UC Berkeley's Doe Library will team up with vibrantBrains, a San Francisco company, on a program promoting lifelong brain fitness. The 11 a.m.-1 p.m. program in Room 190 of Doe Library will focus on acquiring new information and using knowledge. Participants will even get to play computer games.

Election 2008: Prepping on the Issues. These panel discussions and lectures are on the upcoming presidential election and related campaign issues. Aspiring future presidents in the Cal Day crowd can sit in on a special physics lesson outlining what a well-informed U.S. commander in chief needs to know about global warming, nuclear weapons, dirty bombs and even the theory of relativity.

Fossils road show. Children are encouraged to bring fossils in for identification by experts at the Museum of Paleontology in the Valley Life Sciences Building from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Bug Doctor, on the front lawn of Wellman Hall, will answer questions about live insects, spiders and other critters.


  • Special compositions about math and physics written and performed on the guitar by Nicole Campbell, a UC Berkeley third-year student with a major in integrative biology and a minor in music. She will perform and talk about math from 11-11:30 a.m. and 2-2:30 p.m. in Room 1015 of Evans Hall. Campbell's song "Combustion" follows the break-up of hydrogen and carbon as if they were friends, and "Complementary" is about two people who fit each other like 30 and 60 degrees. "I think the best way to learn science and math concepts is to relate them to tangible, everyday things like relationships between people," Campbell says.
  • Carillon recitals will ring out from the Campanile at the top of every hour, starting at noon and continuing until a 4 p.m. performance of Cal songs. The music may be audible for long distances, but the best acoustics are in Faculty Glade near the Sather Tower. At the bells will be students and University Carillonist Jeff Davis, one of only five full-time carillonists in the country.
  • UC Berkeley's antique keyboards, including harpsichords, chamber organs and a hand-pumped Italian organ circa 1740, will be highlighted in a 3-4 p.m. presentation on the Hertz Hall concert stage by Davitt Moroney, a UC Berkeley music professor and university organist.
  • The Electronic Sound Garden will be audible from the foliage in Hertz Hall's northern courtyard, with musical compositions by graduate students from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies Users' Group.

Tours of the new C.V. Starr East Asian Library. These tours will get under way at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The new library that just opened in March houses UC Berkeley's rich East Asian collections.

Presentation of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award. The 2008 winner, Washington Burns, will lecture on "Hope in the 'Hood" from 10:30 a.m.-noon in Doe Library's Morrison Library. Burns is the executive director of the Prescott-Joseph Center in West Oakland and a UC Berkeley alumnus. The award is one of UC Berkeley's top alumni awards. It will be presented by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

Cal Day officially gets underway at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 4 p.m. While parking will be free in campus lots, visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transportation such as BART and buses that connect to campus. Motorized cable cars will shuttle visitors around campus every 30 minutes.

A full calendar of Cal Day activities, complete with times and locations, is online at: http://calday.berkeley.edu/

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