Unknown UC Berkeley professors who deserve an award

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Ameena Golding/Staff

As one of the best universities in the country, UC Berkeley is home to some pretty impressive professors. From Nobel laureates to well known authors, the list of outstanding accomplishments is pretty long with this group. Here is a quick look at some of the many amazing people we get to call our teachers.

Joyce Carol Oates

Oates is a well-known American writer who has published more than 40 novels in addition to many plays, novellas, short stories and poems. She has received many awards over the course of her career, including the National Book Award for Fiction and the Norman Mailer Prize Lifetime Achievement award. She has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction five times. She teaches the short fiction course in the creative writing department.

John A. Dracup

As a major figure in environmental engineering, Dracup focuses on hydro-climatology and has worked as a principal investigator for more than 10 major research agencies, including the United Nations Development Program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation. He got his doctorate at UC Berkeley before beginning to teach environmental engineering here. 

Randy Schekman

Schekman is a cell biologist has won two awards for his discovery of cell membrane trafficking. In 2013, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for helping to reveal “the machinery that regulates the transport and secretion of proteins in our cells.” He teaches cell and developmental biology in the department of molecular and cell biology.

Laura Nader

Nader was the first woman to receive tenure in the anthropology department at UC Berkeley. She has published more than 280 books and journals and won nine prestigious awards for her work, including the Kalven Prize from the Law and Society Association for her research on law and society.

Saul Perlmutter

In 1998, Perlmutter led the Supernova Cosmology Project, which discovered galaxies are receding from one another faster now than they were billions of years ago — not a small feat. In 2011, he also won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He has also been working with NASA to understand the nature of dark energy. He works in the physics department at UC Berkeley.

Oliver Williamson

Williamson is an economist who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in 2009 for Economic Sciences for his theory using business firms as framework for conflict resolution. He also co-founded “New Institutional Economics,” has written five books and received almost 20 different awards and fellowships. He has taught economics and law at UC Berkeley since 1988.

Judith Butler 

As a philosopher and gender theorist, Butler first coined the term “gender performativity” in one of her many published writings. She has also received doctorate of letters degrees from three universities and acted as a key figure in the worlds of political philosophy as well as third-wave feminist, queer and literary theory. She teaches comparative literature at UC Berkeley. 

Yuan T. Lee 

In 1986, Lee became the first Taiwanese Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry for “contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.”  He has also received 17 other distinguishing awards and recognitions ranging from membership with the National Academy of Sciences to the Miller Professorship at UC Berkeley. He was also one of 22 laureates to sign the Humanist Manifesto. He teaches in the College of Chemistry at the graduate level.

Michael Pollan 

Pollan is a writer and activist focused on the spaces where food and culture intersect. He has become quite well-known with published books such as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “In Defense of Food,” “Cooked,” “Food Rules,” and more. He teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Robert Hass 

Hass is a poet who from 1995-97 served as Poet Laureate of the United States. He has published more than 20 works and has won awards including the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

As you can see, we are in the presence of some pretty amazing people everyday we walk on campus. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the hundreds of incredibly intelligent and talented people who teach at UC Berkeley, it is just skimming the surface. So do some research of your own and try to get into your favorite Nobel Prize winner’s classroom!

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].

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