Three of the world’s most popular online course lectures — as measured by view-counts of the videos thereof, posted on the video giant YouTube on April 1 of this year — are by UC Berkeley professors, and all three of those have Berkeley degrees. In fact, they have seven Berkeley degrees among the trio, five at the graduate level.

While a Harvard philosopher leads the viral pack, Berkeley academics come in second, third, and sixth (with an asterisk), respectively.

Marian Diamond
Marian Diamond

Number two is Integrative Biology 131: General Human Anatomy (YouTube), taught by Professor Marian Diamond ’48, M.S. ’49, Ph.D. ’53, viewed nearly 1.5 million times. “She begins by opening a colorful hatbox,” notes Times writer Katie Hafner (who has taught in Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism). “Dressed in an elegant suite and scarf with her hair swept back into a chignon, Professor Diamond pulls on a pair of latex gloves and reveals the box’s contents: a human brain.” Contrary to what some think, she has not yet retired and her magnetism still fills the largest classrooms. The blog Berkeleyside calls her “the 83-year-old rock star professor.”

Richard A. Muller
Richard A. Muller

 

The number three position is occupied by Physics 10: Physics for Future Presidents (YouTube), taught by Professor Richard A. Muller Ph.D. ’69 (who was profiled in The Graduate in 2009.)

Marti Hearst
Marti Hearst
In sixth position is SIMS 141: Search Engines — Technology, Society, and Business (YouTube), taught by Professor Marti Hearst ’85, M.S. ’89, Ph.D. ’94 of Berkeley’s School of Information. The New York Times notes, in its understated way, “that lecture may have been boosted by a guest — Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google.”

(A hat-tip to Frances Dinkespiel of the local blog news-site Berkeleyside, who cited Berkeley-centric aspects of two recent New York Times features, one — “What They’re Watching” — gave the rundown on YouTube’s Top 10 lectures. The other — “An Open Mind” — surveyed the extent to which universities are sharing their knowledge gratis via the Internet, in the process inadvertently creating “tweedy celebrities of cyberspace.”)

Note: if you hunger for Berkeley-based lectures on video, you can browse the extensive menus at UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel or Berkeley at iTunes U (for MP3 players) or, for non-course material, concentrate on the wide array of recent and historic Graduate Council Lectures.


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