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The Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Physics. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Bernard SadouletBerkeley Connect is a mentoring program within the physics department that is accepting undergraduate students at all levels. The goals of the program are to help students develop understanding, community, and career preparedness that goes beyond what traditional courses provide. Interactions with graduate students and faculty will play a large role throughout the semester. The course is a small seminar class led by a physics graduate student. Some of the meetings will include:

  • Visits to research labs on campus and at the national labs to talk to faculty, scientists, and grad students
  • Preparing students for a broad range of career trajectories including ones outside of academia
  • Discussions of science in the news and science and society
  • Resources for finding research opportunities on campus, REUs, internships
  • Developing skills that will make you an attractive candidate for undergraduate research
  • Exploration of the idea of scientific models
  • Building a community of physics student scientists

Berkeley Connect is a 1-credit seminar course that meets once a week for one hour. It is designed to be very low workload but have large benefits for undergraduates.

Professor Bernard Sadoulet

Faculty Director, Berkeley Connect in Physics

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Physics. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Physics major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Physics is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in Physics, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Physics. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Physics as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.


Bernard Sadoulet (Director),
Bernard Sadouleta graduate of Ecole Polytechnique (1963) and a “Docteur es Sciences” of Paris-Orsay University (1971), is by training an elementary particle physicist. As such, he had the chance of participating in two prestigious experiments which led to Nobel Prizes: the Mark I experiment at SLAC which discovered the J/y, the t lepton and the charm, and UA1 at CERN which discovered the intermediate vector bosons W and Z. In 1984 he decided to shift his efforts towards particle astrophysics and cosmology. In 1985 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1989 to 2001 he was the Director of the Center for Particle Astrophysics, one of the 11 first generation Science and Technology Centers of the National Science Foundation. He is currently Director of the UC system-wide Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (INPAC). You can learn more about his research here: http://www.physics.berkeley.edu/research/faculty/Sadoulet.html

Holger Müller
Holger Muellersuccessfully applied for his first patent when he was 14. Later, he did his undergraduate thesis with Jürgen Mlynek at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He graduated from Humboldt-University, Berlin, with Achim Peters as advisor. Müller received a fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation and joined the group of Steven Chu in Stanford as a postdoc. In July 2008, he joined the Physics faculty at UC Berkeley as an Assistant Professor. You can learn more about his research here: http://www.physics.berkeley.edu/research/faculty/mueller.html

Berkeley Connect Mentors

Jonny Cookmeyer is a second-year Physics graduate student, born and raised in North Carolina and a graduate from Haverford College (a small liberal arts school in the suburbs of Philadelphia). In addition to being interested in many aspects of theoretical condensed matter physics, Jonny enjoys playing Ultimate, hiking, speedcubing, and playing piano. They are excited to participate in the Berkeley Connect program to get to know, mentor, and assist a group of undergrads while helping them navigate the scientific community here at Berkeley and beyond.

Crystal NoelCrystal Noel is a sixth-year graduate student in Physics with a concentration in Applied Science and Technology. Her research is in trapped ions for quantum computing applications. She has been involved on campus as a physics instructor, the Wellness Fund committee chair, and a Graduate Assembly delegate. Crystal helps manage her lab’s Twitter account and likes to plan fun outings like picnics and trips to the beach. She is excited to help undergraduates connect with the physics community.

Paul Riggins is a sixth-year graduate student in Physics, working with Surjeet Rajendran on high energy phenomenology. Besides playing with physics, Paul enjoys mentoring, singing, and thinking about games. He is excited to support the Berkeley undergraduate community and have awesome conversations about life and science.

Miguel Zumalacarregui is a postdoctoral fellow at the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. His research aims at understanding the mysterious components making up 95% of the universe (dark energy and dark matter) using techniques like gravitational waves, supernovae, the large-scale distribution of galaxies, and other astronomical observations. He’s also very interested in science outreach, and loves to cook, read and hike in his free time. He is excited to be part of Berkeley Connect and discuss about how to get the most out of education, science and life.

Semester Activities


  • Attend weekly meetings (small-group and large-group events and mentoring meetings). Note that small-group meetings are at your designated time and large-group meetings are at times announced on the
  • Field Trip(s) to: (i) the Bancroft Library; (ii) the Berkeley Art Museum; (iii) a movie at the Pacific Film Archive; or (iv) a talk in the Philosophy
  • Fill out a questionnaire at the end of the

Attendance policy:

In order to receive a pass, you must satisfy all of the following:

  • you must attend both meetings with your mentor;
  • you must not miss more than two small-group sessions;
  • you must attend two large-group sessions OR one large-group session and one Field Trip OR two Field Trips;
  • you must fill out the end-of-semester

Sessions start on the hour, not on “Berkeley time”. This is so that everyone can get food and discussion can begin by 10 after the hour.






Section Topic


General Events



1 Jan

28-Feb 1

No section! Orientations Wednesday and Thursday
2 Feb 4-8 Introductions, Theme
3 Feb 11-15 Required general event this week Scientist panel and social Feb 14 Feb 13 Add/Drop
4 Feb 18-22 How to get into research and become a physicist One-on-one meetings this week!
5 Feb

25-Mar 1

Wednesday section only this week Lab tours start One-on-one meetings this week!
6 Mar 4-8 What makes an activity science? – Thursday section only this week
7 Mar 11-15 Mar 13 Oppenheimer Lecture + Lunch?
8 Mar 18-22 Fellows share their research
9 Mar 25-29 No Section! Spring Break
10 Apr 1-5 Identity as a Scientist
11 Apr 8-12 Apr 13 Cal Day
12 Apr 15-19 Science and Society One-on-one meetings this week!



To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Physics 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Physics, you enroll in a designated section of Physics 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs. If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Physics, please contact: Bernard Sadoulet, Faculty Director, sadoulet@berkeley.edu

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office  at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510)664-4182.

Links & Resources