From the Editor - Spring 2014

By Alexis Fedorchak

April 26, 2014

Dear Readers,

Those of us who create the Berkeley Science Review each semester are graduate students and postdocs in the sciences. We are acutely aware of the current social, political, and health concerns that hover over academic science.

It speaks to the importance our staff places on these topics that Issue 26 of the BSR includes a whopping five articles under the umbrella I’ll call “meta-science.” That is, discussions about graduate school, tenure track, and the practice of science itself. In a captivating feature, “This is your mind on grad school,” Sebastien Lounis and Denia Djokic discuss mental health concerns bubbling up in academic science and ways people at UC Berkeley have stepped up to offer support to graduate students. Another feature, “New journal on the block,” written by Charlene Bashore, discusses open access scientific publishing with a spotlight on the free online journal eLife. In the brief “Mind the culture gap,” Kevin Doxen touches on action taken at UC Berkeley to bridge cultural practices and new technology. We also bring you two articles on women in academia. Holly Williams discusses the progress that’s been made on campus to introduce family-friendly practices in “Narrowing the divide,” while Alexis Shusterman reviews the book Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in The Ivory Tower, by law professor Mary Ann Mason.

As always, this issue offers plenty to keep you informed about the non-meta-science on campus as well. Inspired by another book (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot), author Alexandra del Carpio takes readers on a journey through the lives of Berkeley scientists who actively use the cell line harvested 63 years ago from an unsuspecting cancer patient in “The good the bad and the HeLa.” Perhaps you’ve heard something in the news about a craze that is touted as “crisper.” This is actually hype about a new genetic technology with the acronym CRISPR, pioneered at UC Berkeley. In “GM to Order,” Levi Gadye discusses what the CRISPR craze means for genetically modified foods. Sometime within the past decade, society decided it needs scientists who exist solely to make sense of huge amounts of data. In our cover story, “The first rule of data science,” Anum Azam explains a science so hip that UC Berkeley just launched an entire institute devoted to it.

Finally, I am excited to let you know about the most recent development here at the BSR. We have entered the tablet era. A project born last fall, our inaugural iPad version of the magazine (Issue 25) was released in early April as a free downloadable app. You can find the new format at the iTunes store by searching Berkeley Science Review. I’d definitely check it out: the app boasts interactive visuals and multimedia presentations, and looks just as beautiful as the print magazine, if not more. Special thanks to former Art Director Asako Miyakawa and current Art Director Helene Moorman for leading the charge to produce the new format! We’ve been gearing up to release Issue 26 in iPad form as well, and will hopefully be able to offer tablet versions to all platforms soon.

Thanks to a wonderful team of editors, writers, and design staff for producing another great issue. Oh! And check out our re-designed website if you get the chance (, thanks to dedicated web-magician Chris Holdgraf.


Alexis Fedorchak

Editor in Chief

This article is part of the Spring 2014 issue.

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