#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Niba Nirmal

It was a privilege for UC Berkeley CLEAR to host Niba Nirmal (@NotesByNiba) for the #UCSciCommSeries. Niba is a Multimedia Producer and Digital Strategist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). She received a bachelor’s in Genetics and Genomics from UC Davis, completed a master’s in Genetics at Duke University and earned a Science Communication Certificate from Northwestern University.

How to Change Your Mind - Chapter 4 Summary

Chapter four, “Travelogue: Journeying Underground,” takes the reader through Pollan’s personal experiences with three different psychedelic compounds. Once psychedelics were categorized as class one substances, the use of psychedelics went underground. Many people were, and still are, interested in using psychedelics and seek to undertake psychedelic experiences under the watchful eye of an underground guide. Despite not being formally regulated, many underground guides adhere to strict standards when assisting individuals under the influence of psychedelics.

#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Megan Varvais

Megan Varvais, Communications Specialist and Administrator for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, talked to us about her journey from legislative advocacy to her current position. She started her career working in non-profit legislative advocacy and organization for various political groups.

Food Systems: Nourishing Inequality

Now in her sixties, Willena Scott-White nostalgically reminisced about the family farm she grew up on, surrounded by other African American-owned farms. Such communities have a long and tortuous history. In the decades after the Civil War, Black sharecroppers cultivated their leased land (where they were often exploited as undervalued laborers).

#UCSciCommSeries Presents: Brittany Anderton

Our second speaker in our #UCSciCommSeries focused on Dr. Brittany Anderton, the Associate Director of Research Talks at iBiology. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of iBiology, their content consists of educational videos for all sorts of crowds. Some of their videos contain content for students trying to learn more about a particular topic, and some are about special-interest topics from high-profile researchers. 

Science Writers Can Help Society Benefit from Understanding Modern Evolutionary Theory

Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-known: organisms produce offspring who differ from each other, and those offspring who are best adapted to their environment are the most likely to survive and reproduce. According to University of Chicago professor James Shapiro, this theory needs to be updated. He details his genomics-based ideas in the just recently published 2nd edition his book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, Fortified. 

How to Change Your Mind - Chapter 2 Summary

Chapter two, “Bemushroomed,” covers the history of psychoactive mushrooms. In a laboratory setting, a synthetic version of the psilocybin molecule is prepared for research purposes rather than using a psilocybin containing mushrooms. Although synthetic psilocybin is more practical for research studies, the synthetic psilocybin molecule has become separated from its fungal origin. To better understand the mushrooms, specifically of the genus Psilocybe, Pollan teamed up with famous mycologist Paul Stamets.

There's Something in the Water...

Do you enjoy a cold, refreshing glass of water on a hot day? Unfortunately, not everyone has that privilege: Over the past three decades, millions of Americans have been exposed to unsafe drinking water.

Introduction to Science Policy

Science communication is a catch-all term for a variety of applications, like science policy. Often, science policy is thought of at the federal level of government, such as the suggestions handed down by the United States government and others regarding the pandemic response. But because science is so ingrained at all levels of society, science policy can start small at the town or city council level and spread to the state and federal levels.