UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Annual Cal Day open house set for April 22

– Visitors to the University of California, Berkeley's Cal Day 2006 may want to chart their courses in advance and rest up in order to enjoy as much as possible of the campus's annual open house on Saturday, April 22.

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Among this year's programs will be expert lectures, artistic performances, games and exhibitions open to everyone including youngsters, teens preparing for college, newly admitted and prospective Cal students and their parents, the senior set, and those anxious to see what goes on at the nation's premier public research university.

Events are scheduled from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Settings range from the hilltop Lawrence Hall of Science's planetarium and the University of California Blake Garden high in the Kensington hills, to the UC Botanical Garden halfway down Strawberry Canyon, to the central campus and surrounding facilities such as a "green" residence hall and International House.

Back this year will be traditional crowd pleasers such as the "dig" at the Archaeological Research Facility, robotic demonstrations, a jaw-dropping tour of the three-story-high Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, the bug doctor booth, a children's literature celebration, "Ask a Mathematician," the Cal Band, and the campus's mascot, Oski.

New offerings include video games and a series of programs that will follow, by a few days, the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Campus research will be presented related to the Bay Area's omnipresent threat of earthquakes.

For the first time, the original fossil bones of a baby Triceratops will be available for viewing, and a multi-cultural mural lost for 20 years will be on display in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.

UC Berkeley experts also will be on hand to discuss black holes and the birth of the universe, climate change, evolution, AIDS in Africa, and California's Proposition 82, a June ballot measure seeking to provide free preschool for all of the state's four-year-olds.

Several Cal Day programs will share the latest research involving important contemporary health issues.

For example, UC Berkeley anthropologist Sabrina Agarwal will lecture on osteoporosis, and Irina Conboy, an assistant professor of bioengineering, will talk about understanding -- and reversing -- stem cell aging. Lisa Pruitt, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, will present "Body by Design," a hands-on exhibit looking at design issues related to replacement devices for hips, knees and shoulders and displaying materials used in artificial joints and prosthetic devices. "Preventing Type II Diabetes," a disease whose incidence has gone up in every age group in the United States over the last five to 10 years, will be the focus of two talks by Sharon Fleming, a professor of nutritional sciences and toxicology.

Entertainment events will include a performance of scenes from Shakespeare's "As You Like It," a showcase of works by UC Berkeley dance faculty and others, African drumming, student poetry readings, Panamanian folk dances, chamber music, and carillon recitals on the hour, starting at 11 a.m.

One Cal Day staple is the walking or cable car tour of campus. This year, separate tours will branch out to explore the campus tree trail, the Jepson Herbarium, the architecture computing lab, various libraries, the UC Botanical Garden, earthquake retrofit sites and dozens of campus bear sculptures.

Visitors also can attend a spring football scrimmage and intercollegiate competitions, and view exhibitions of a concrete canoe, robotic racing cars, and a student-designed and -manufactured super mileage vehicle.

And if anything's bugging you, Cal Day is the one day of the year that the public is encouraged to bring insects and spiders to campus for identification. Vernard Lewis, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist, will be on hand at the "Bug Doctor Booth" with an array of microscopes, computers, books, and live insect and "other creepy crawler" displays.

"In the past, people have brought in insects for identification, wondering if they are 'bad guys.' They've also brought in sick caterpillars," said Lewis. He noted that bugs and spiders are said to be the No. 1 fear of many Americans. "I'm told people are 10 times more afraid of spiders and bugs than even death."

One of the all-time strangest critters ever presented to Lewis, he said, was a hungry, red-legged ham beetle contained in a silver embossed goat skull from Nepal.

Campus parking is free in designated areas, but the event typically draws approximately 35,000 people - a crowd that puts a major crunch on limited parking. Public transportation is the best way to get to Cal Day. AC Transit and BART go to or near campus, and free shuttles and cable cars provide closer access to campus venues including the Lawrence Hall of Science, Space Sciences Lab and UC Botanical Garden.