The Berkeley Cross-Discipline Challenge Essay Prize

This prize is sponsored by a group of Alumni Members from the University of California - Berkeley. We operate independent of the university and its administration.

Our intent is to promote the notion of a cross-disciplined approach to research. In this era of extreme specialization, it is critical for the student to approach their own field of interest with focus and dedication - but, it is equally critical that they bring a cross-disciplined approach to their work. The future lies with minds that can bridge the ever-widening gap that exists between technical fields such as biology and physics, or, between philosophy and mathematics. And never has it been more important for the student to bring the power of both language and art to their arguments. Berkeley entered Trinity College at the age of 15 and studied all of the academic fields available to him. He learned to write and express his intuitions about philosophy, mathematics and science with force and passion. This gave him the confidence (while in his twenties) to debate Newton about the validity of differential calculus, then to offer to the world his New Theory of Vision, and soon thereafter, A treatise Concerning the Principles of Knowledge. He expressed his vision of the west as "the future of art and education" in poetic Verses that ultimately inspired the founders of the College of California to rename their institution after him. (For more Berkeley images and history, click element 97, or the shamrock at the bottom of this page.)

This essay challenge will be an annual competition.


Berkeley at Cal? For more information about conceptual architectural and landscape plans for a proposed renovation of Campanile Way. contact

Bagpipes at Berkeley? The image below is from the grand bagpipe march down Campanile Way that took place two years ago at the University of California to commemorate George Berkeley's 330th birthday! We hope to make this an annual (May 12th) event that coincides with the announcement of the essay topics for each year's challenge prize. If you would like to participate in or sponsor future Berkeley prizes and events, please contact us via email at

More about Berkeley

If you're looking for a champion Bagpiper - here's our recommendation:
Fred Payne: Champion Bagpiper for San Francisco Bay frpiper05@