Like Duke Ellington’s 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another for a fraction of a second and harmonize, then go back to improvising, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.
The original Americans came from Siberia in a single wave no more than 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, and apparently hung out in the north – perhaps for thousands of years – before spreading in two distinct populations throughout North and South America, according to a new genomic analysis.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation and its founder, internet investor Yuri Milner, have signed a contract with UC Berkeley to lead a major escalation in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI.
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes. UC Berkeley engineers are expanding their portfolio of 3D printing technology to include electrical components, such as resistors, inductors, capacitors and integrated wireless electrical sensing systems.
A new UC Berkeley study shows that sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions. This deficit can have serious consequences, such as not noticing that a child is sick or in pain, or that a potential mugger or violent predator is approaching.
UC Berkeley researchers, in collaboration with scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, have developed a template for growing beating cardiac tissue from stem cells, creating a system that could serve as a model for early heart development and as a drug-screening tool to make pregnancies safer.
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new UC Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.
Drought and the growing water demands of agriculture and a changing climate are creating a “knife edge” of survival for young salmon and steelhead, says UC Berkeley fish ecologist Stephanie Carlson. She is working to determine minimum water levels needed to sustain the fish.
When Pixar set about making Inside Out, animating the emotions an 11-year-old girl feels after her family moves across the country, the film’s director called psychologists Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley and Paul Ekman of UCSF to consult on the film. The scientists wrote about their experience in the New York Times.
A powerful, interactive tool popular among academics and scientists who wrestle with large datasets in multiple formats is getting a big infusion of support to broaden its capabilities for collaborative data science and to reach ever wider audiences.