Campus news

New live online COVID-19 series connects experts with public

Associate Vice Chancellor Communications and Public Affairs Diana Harvey sent the following message to the campus community on Thursday:

Across the UC Berkeley campus, researchers are rising to meet the complex challenges of COVID-19, even as the crisis generates waves of news and information that can be confusing and contradictory at times. In response, the university is launching a new online video series, “Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19,” to connect our experts with the public and each other. Through Q&As, seminars, and panel discussions, faculty from a wide range of disciplines – from epidemiology to economics to the computing and data now undergirding their work – will share what they know, and what they are learning.

We will offer open access to these forums every week through a new website , where it will be possible to watch live and archived conversations and consult a calendar that will list future events as they are scheduled.

The series kicks off tomorrow, Friday, April 3, at 12:30 p.m., with a Q&A focused on how we can make sense of data and information about the virus’s spread, the impact and efficacy of social distancing and the implications for our short- and long-term futures. This first Berkeley Conversation will feature:

  • Prof. Art. Reingold, M.D., the Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He has more than 40 years of experience in the prevention and control of infectious diseases at the national and global level.
  • Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes, who leads the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, and the School of Information. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research areas include biomedicine applications and epidemiological modeling.

Updated information will be provided to the public and campus community as new events are scheduled. For now, here is a list of events scheduled for the next two weeks:

  • Tuesday, April 7, from 10 -11:30 a.m. (PST), Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, and Michael Lu, Dean of the Berkeley School of Public Health, will host and moderate a roundtable discussion with Berkeley researchers focusing on how they are mobilizing computing and data science for COVID-19 response and recovery, from helping local public health officials track outbreaks to predicting and addressing impacts on employment and elections. This conversation is titled “Creating Informed Responses: Berkeley’s Computing and Data Science In Action.”
  • On Friday, April 10, at  a time to be determined, we will focus on the growing financial and economic impacts of the pandemic in this country and around the world. Faculty experts will help the audience understand possible outcomes and scenarios, the likely impact of governmental actions to date and what additional steps may be needed to address an array of extraordinary challenges posed by COVID-19.
  • On Monday, April 13 from 4:30-6 p.m., UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health will host a follow-up to its initial town hall, “Coronavirus: Facts & Fears.” An archived version of that event can be found here . Part Two of this series, “Coronavirus: Science and Solutions,” will focus on addressing unanswered questions from the last town hall, and highlighting emerging science that will drive solutions to this and future pandemic outbreaks.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Berkeley Conversations will present faculty experts who will address a range of pressing issues, questions and concerns regarding timely research subjects including:

Epidemiological and economic developments as they unfold

Public Policy: Equity and disparities in the age of COVID-19

Child Psychology: Caring for kids in trying times

Health and Wellness: Maintaining and sustaining personal well-being

Biomedicine: New frontiers, tactics and strategies

Sociology: What are we witnessing now in society, and what might the world look like once the crisis passes

History: What can we learn from past epidemics and global crises

Data and Privacy: How to protect personal freedom in an era of extraordinary governmental monitoring and interventions

Cultural Studies: Racism, xenophobia and COVID-19

Statistics: Understanding analysis and recognizing bias in news

Engineering: How can sensor technologies help avert future healthcare crises

Business: Long-term impacts of COVID-19 on how we engage at the office and at home

The Arts: How can creative and performing arts contribute in the age of COVID-19

We will provide updated information as new events are scheduled. We hope you find the series to be informative and interesting!