David Blackwell

David Blackwell: A trailblazing statistician

“He had this great talent for making things appear simple. … That is the ultimate best thing in mathematics, if you have an insight that something seemingly complicated is really simple, but simple after the fact.”

That’s what statistics professor Peter Bickel said of David Blackwell, an eminent mathematician and statistician who was the first black admitted to the National Academy of Sciences. Blackwell joined the Berkeley faculty in 1954 and eventually became the first tenured black professor in the University of California system. He later chaired Berkeley’s world-renowned statistics department.

Blackwell contributed to numerous fields, including probability theory, game theory, and information theory. He had a gift for entering a well-studied field and discovering something new and remarkable. He died in 2010, and was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for a scientist.

Read Blackwell's oral history from The Bancroft Library's Regional Oral History…

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Chang-Lin Tien addresses the crowd on Charter Day.

Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien: An unabashed cheerleader for Cal

In a Twitter thread sharing memories of Chang-Lin Tien, Berkeley’s chancellor from 1990-97, one person recalled him passing out cookies in the library and exhorting, “Study hard! Go, Bears!” Another remembers students mobbing him as he walked across campus — “like something out of A Hard Day’s Night” — and Tien always made time to shake hands or give hugs.

Japanese Americans receiving honorary degrees from Berkeley

Commencement: A special day Cal students deserve

After years of hard work and personal growth, graduating from college can bring a mix of emotions, from pride and nostalgia to fear and excitement about what lies ahead. It also brings a special day when, at Berkeley, some 5,000 graduates and over 40,000 guests gather for a formal procession, speeches, performances, and more to mark this momentous occasion. 

Barry C. Barish '57, Ph.D. '63

Alumnus of the Year proves Einstein was right

Barry C. Barish ’57, Ph.D. ’63 says watching ocean waves marked the start of his work on detecting gravitational waves a century after Einstein’s prediction. His research would win him the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shares, as well as Berkeley’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year.

Strawberry Creek, UC Berkeley campus

Around the Bend, Strawberry Creek

A poem written and performed by José L. Rodríguez Nodal, a long-time staff member with deep family ties to UC Berkeley, for the university’s 150th birthday on March 23, 2018

The Big C on Charter Hill

Give me a (concrete) C!

On our rugged eastern foothills,
Stands our symbol clear and bold, 
Big C means to fight and strive
And win for blue and gold.

— Excerpt from the song “Big C,” written in 1913 by Harold P. Williams and N. Loyall McLaren