Photo by Elena Zhukova

Welcome back, Golden Bears!

The new academic year in photos, videos and words

  • #BerkeleyMinds share their thoughts
  • “What’s the one thing you’re most proud of?”

“I was a key member of two teams that discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe. This was a very unexpected discovery, and it has revolutionized how we view the universe.”
  • “At the age of two my mother was incarcerated in a U.S. concentration camp during World War II. My father experienced the fire bombings of Tokyo as a boy. Because of their wartime experiences, they believed that an education was important because knowledge was something that no one and no circumstance could ever take away from you. Because of their experiences I am most passionate about my work to ensure that everyone has access to a quality public education.”
  • “When I was 10 years old, I begged my mom to attend a private school. My mom then gifted me a chalkboard. She made me promise that if I were to attend a private school, I would have to teach everything I learned to my two younger sisters. Unfortunately, my mom could not afford to send me to a private school but, I utilized the chalkboard every day to teach my sisters a variety of topics I learned from class. I started teaching at a young age, and I have loved it ever since.”
  • “Sit in the front. You can feel very disengaged in large enrollment courses, but if you sit in the front you have no idea how many people are behind you. If you sit in the back though, all you will see is the sea of people between you and the professor. That creates distractions. It creates a disconnection in your educational experiences, and it’s much easier to not stay engaged in the lecture.”
  • “If I weren’t teaching, I’d probably be a firefighter. There’s something about it that’s just so cool and pure and awesome.”


“Yeah, it’s like, you’re there fighting fire! Man against the elements! You don’t get to do much physical work as a mathematician.”
  • “I’ve been walking to campus for three and a half years, and it’s still meaningful and beautiful. When I’m walking to campus, I have to walk around people taking photos of buildings or spaces, and I’m a little annoyed. But I think like, no, I have no right to be annoyed with that. I’m teaching in a space that people want to commemorate; they want memories of themselves in the space, photographed and made into media.”
  • “What is your favorite number, and why?”

“Well, that’s like asking parents about their favorite child! As a number theorist I sometimes kind of spew out my favorite prime numbers when I am giving examples, such as 144169. Another prime number is 1234567891. That’s a good prime number.”