Bonnie Wach

Head of the Class

At the world-class university in our backyard, scads of smart researchers are ferreting out the secrets of the future. A random dip into the vast brain trust yields Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, whose research reveals surprisingly optimistic news about race relations; Sonia Bishop, who scopes out the neuroscience of anxiety; and Robert Hirst, the nation’s most obsessive Mark Twain scholar.

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Sonia Bishop, The Panic Doc

Neuropsychologist Sonia Bishop believes that anxiety is all in your head—literally. Her promising new study shows that variations in brain structure account for why some of us flip out more easily than others, a finding that bodes well for better treatment.

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Robert Hirst, The Accidental Celebrity

Mark Twain worked hard to burnish his reputation. Not so Robert Hirst, the general editor of Cal’s massive Mark Twain Papers and Project. But suddenly last fall, with the publication of the outrageously best-selling Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I—a project that Hirst oversaw—he and his colleagues found themselves basking in the limelight.

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Vegetarian with Benefits

Berkeley cookbook author Mollie Katzen, author of the revolutionary no-meat Moosewood Cookbook, surprised some fans last year with the publication of her newest book, Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen. The cookbook features—yes, it’s true—recipes for omnivores as well as vegetarians, signaling a shift in what some prominent food experts consider healthy eating. Around the East Bay, diners and restaurateurs alike are embracing this new—and not-so-new—way of eating.

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Faces of the East Bay