UC Nobel winners underscore value of investments in higher education

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The awarding of the Nobel Prizes to three University of California faculty members this month underscores the importance of the state’s world-class public higher education system to advancing the pace of discovery and innovation that fuels economic growth and improves lives.

UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry with colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier for the co-development of CRISPR-Cas9, a genome editing breakthrough that has revolutionized biomedicine.

This technology allows scientists to rewrite DNA — the code of life — in any organism, including human cells. It has opened the door to treatments for thousands of diseases as well as new possibilities across biology and agriculture.

UC Berkeley Professor emeritus Reinhard Genzel and UCLA Professor Andrea Ghez shared half of the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics for “the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”

They join a proud legacy of the UC system winning Nobel Prizes that stretches back to 1939 and includes 68 faculty and staff who have been awarded 69 Nobel Prizes. Their discoveries have advanced medicine, economics, physics and more, powering innovations that improve lives and strengthen the state’s and the nation’s economy.

To support them and help invigorate the economy, the state and federal government must continue to invest in California’s world-class public higher education system. The strength of the state’s economy will be critical to the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus downtown because California accounts for nearly 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product. The state’s public higher education system is critical to California’s economy. The UC system alone is the state’s third-largest employer and, along with the CSU, contributes over $60 billion to California’s economy every year.

As the world’s largest public research university system, UC is also responsible for sparking statewide innovation, with an


16 Amazing Winners, In Photos

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‘A welcome embrace,’ a rare glimpse of a Siberian tigress hugging a tree has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, #WPY56.

The moving image by Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov shows an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree at the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russian Far East.

Amur, or Siberian, tigers are found only in this region and it took more than 11 months for the photographer to capture this moment with hidden cameras. The race – regarded as the same subspecies as the Bengal tiger – counts only a small number surviving over the border in China and possibly a few in North Korea.

“The announcement was made by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum, London, on 13 October,” the organizers said.

The chair of the judging panel, renowned writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox, praises the photo as “a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest. Shafts of low winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in


College football winners and losers from Week 6 include LSU, Texas A&M

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Losing to Mississippi State and Missouri in a three-game span would send any coaching staff scurrying back to the drawing board in search of answers. 


College football Week 6 winners and losers include LSU, Texas A&M

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Losing to Mississippi State and Missouri in a three-game span would send any coaching staff scurrying back to the drawing board in search of answers. 

That LSU has lost to the Bulldogs and Tigers on the heels of last year’s national championship leaves the Tigers’ season teetering on the brink even before encountering the meat of the conference-only schedule.

Missouri, which had six scoring drives of at least 75 yards, took a 45-41 lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and made a goal-line stand with seconds left to pull off the upset as roughly two-touchdown underdogs.

Less dangerous on offense and a disaster on defense, the 1-2 Tigers still face a murderer’s row of SEC competition: Florida next week, Auburn on Halloween, and Alabama and Texas A&M in November.

The season already seems lost. How much worse can it get?

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan heads off the field as Mssouri players celebrate in the final seconds of their game at Faurot Field. (Photo: L.G. Patterson, AP)

It probably can’t get any more catastrophic on defense. Then again …

In his first season back as the Tigers’ coordinator, former Nebraska and Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini has crafted a scheme that allowed Mississippi State to crank out 623 passing yards and Missouri to gain 586 yards of total offense. In his first career start, Missouri freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak completed 29 of 34 attempts for 406 yards and four touchdowns.

Up next, LSU takes on Kyle Trask and the Florida offense, which is averaging more than 450 yards and 40 points per game.

Tuesday marks nine months to the day of LSU beating Clemson to close out an unbeaten season. The offseason losses were severe, from quarterback Joe Burrow


21 MacArthur ‘Genius grant’ winners — including a neuroscientist, econometrician and historian — receive $625K each

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A legal scholar who studies how Black and other disadvantaged families are deprived of their real estate wealth.

A cognitive neuroscientist who taps a range of technologies to understand how the brain functions.

A jazz singer who is expanding what the art of song can achieve.

These are among winners of this year’s MacArthur Fellowships, popularly known as “genius grants.” Each will receive $125,000 annually for the next five years, with no strings attached, from the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“In the midst of civil unrest, a global pandemic, natural disasters, and conflagrations, this group of 21 exceptionally creative individuals offers a moment for celebration,” said Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Fellows, in a statement.

“They are asking critical questions, developing innovative technologies and public policies, enriching our understanding of the human condition, and producing works of art that provoke and inspire us.”

Following is the complete list of this year’s winners. For more information, visit

Isaiah Andrews, 34, Cambridge, Mass.

Andrews, an econometrician, develops “reliable and broadly applicable methods of statistical inference to address key challenges in economics, social science and medicine,” according to the foundation.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, 43, Chapel Hill, N.C.

The sociologist, writer and public scholar explores where issues of race, gender, education and digital technology converge. Her work spans academic scholarship to social media platforms.

Paul Dauenhauer, 39, Minneapolis.

A chemical engineer, Dauenhauer is developing technologies for turning materials drawn from organic, renewable sources into the “chemical building blocks” for items now made from fossil fuels.

Nels Elde, 47, Salt Lake City.

An evolutionary geneticist, Elde explores the processes that allow organisms to attack others or defend themselves.

Damien Fair, 44, Minneapolis.

Fair, a cognitive neuroscientist, investigates brain functioning via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), sophisticated mathematical

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