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UC Berkeley Press Release

UC Berkeley open house April 17: Cal Day

– Cal Day, the University of California, Berkeley's annual open house, is Saturday, April 17, when an anticipated 35,000 visitors will flock to free performances, lectures, tours, athletic competitions, hands-on exhibits and a multitude of other events displaying the cultural and intellectual diversity of the campus.

Among the highlights this year will be astronaut and UC Berkeley alumnus Lt. Col. Rex J. Walheim discussing his mission to the International Space Station, an introduction to excavations at one of the original Olympic Games sites in Greece, and the first glimpse of the 2004 Cal Golden Bears football team as they square off against their teammates in Memorial Stadium.

"UC Berkeley is an exciting place every day - a center of new ideas, research discoveries, thrilling sports, dazzling performances. But Cal Day is like no other here on campus," said Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl. "Spend it in Cal's classrooms and labs, museums and performance halls, libraries and arenas. Take in all that Berkeley has to offer, and see why Cal is the world's premier public university."

Cal Day offers the public a chance to view, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., campus museum collections and laboratories usually open just to researchers. "You'd never be able to see or do a lot of this otherwise," said Diana Musto, Cal Day coordinator at UC Berkeley's Office of Public Affairs, which manages the event. "And there is something for everyone."

Prospective college students of any age can drop by Dwinelle Plaza for the all-day "Kindergarten to College" resource fair, organized to help students and their families prepare for college.

Motorized cable cars will travel continuously around campus on 30-minute tours as student guides point out historical sights and Cal Day activities. Visitors can hop off to explore places and attend events along the way.

For example, in 370 Dwinelle Hall from 1 to 2 p.m., classics professor Stephen G. Miller will share his insights about ancient Greek athletic events gleaned from 30 years of excavations in Ancient Nemea, Greece, a site used 2,300 years ago for the original Panhellenic Games.

From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in 120 Bechtel Engineering Center, astronaut Lt. Col. Rex J. Walheim, a 1984 graduate of the College of Engineering, will discuss his Air Force career leading up to a mission to the International Space Station.

Cal Day attendees can see the full-sized cast of a T. Rex and view old bones and teeth in the Museum of Paleontology, or see live animals alongside museum specimens in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. They may also explore art and architecture studios, attend a free University Chorus and UC Chamber Chorus concert as well as a free performance of the University Dance Theater.

Or, they can drop by the lobby of Evans Hall between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for some participatory statistical research. Statistics professor Deborah Nolan and a cadre of postdocs, graduate students and undergrads will give visitors $20 worth of poker chips to test their favorite gambling strategy on a roulette wheel. Results will be plotted throughout the day to see how the schemes fare.

Sporting events include martial arts demonstrations and rappelling instruction off the side of Wheeler Hall, as well as a Golden Bear football match and free lunch from noon to 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. In addition, the UC Berkeley men's tennis team will face rival UCLA at the Hellman Tennis Courts from 1 to 3 p.m., and the women's softball team will go up against the Arizona Wildcats from 2 to 4 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field.

To get a taste of college life, residence halls and student facilities will be open for tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The campus will welcome newly admitted students and their families at the Haas Pavilion at 8:30 a.m., and all are invited to attend information sessions on academic programs, financial aid, housing and other campus services.

Lectures by faculty will be held throughout the day. Highlights include:

* "What is a Planet?" Astronomy professor Gibor Basri delves into the contentious issue of how to define a planet. Should Pluto be considered a planet, or is it just another comet? Basri has a possible resolution to the debate. 2 to 3:30 p.m., 100 Lewis Hall.

* "Bear in Mind: The California Grizzly Bear." Author and librarian Susan Snyder will present a slide lecture and sign copies of her new book, "Bear in Mind," a natural history of California's enduring, though extinct, symbol. 10 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon, Bancroft Library's Heller Reading Room.

* "War and Peace: Indo-Pakistani Relations and Kashmir." Neil Joeck, an adjunct professor of political science and a senior fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Center for Global Security Research, will discuss the long history of clashes over the disputed Kashmir territory on the border between the two nations. 11 a.m. to noon, 145 Dwinelle Hall.

* "Genetically Modified Weeds, Hermaphroditic Frogs and Premature Babies." Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrative biology, will discuss how pesticide use is affecting the evolution of weeds, the sex life of frogs and perhaps even human fetuses. 9 to 10 a.m., 2040 Valley Life Sciences Bldg.

Parking for Cal Day is free, but limited. Free shuttles will run all day between downtown Berkeley BART and campus attractions. For a more complete schedule of Cal Day events, visit http://www.berkeley.edu/calday/. That site includes a search engine for visitors to research what to see and do at specific times on April 17 and a slide show from last year's event.