News In Brief

New Berlin Wall Exhibit In the Student Center

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the UCI German department has teamed up with the Goethe Institute of San Francisco to host a traveling photography exhibit called “Icons of a Border Exhibition.”

The exhibit will feature photos of the fallen Wall and united Berlin in addition to photographic documentation of the Wall that once stood.

Along with the exhibit comes a four-day seminar called “1989: 20 Years After” that will analyze the international, economic, political, and social changes that have grown since the fall of the Wall and the end of the Cold War.

Poland’s first post-communism finance minister, Leszek Balcerowicz, will deliver the keynote address at the event, according to UC Irvine Today.

The exhibit — held in the Crystal Cove Auditorium — runs until Nov 2, 2009 while the conference will occur Nov. 5-8th in Social Science Plaza A.

Researchers Ask If Bad Driving is a Genetic Problem

When you encounter a questionable driver on the road, chances are you don’t consider this fault to be genetically predisposed, right?

UCI neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer is stating just that claim.

Cramer and his team of scientists are conducting a number of tests and experiments that all point to the same indicator: people with a particular gene variant do worse on driving tests than those that do not have this gene variant.

About 30 percent of Americans have the variant; it limits accessible use of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF keeps memory strong and keeps brain cells functioning normally. When involved in a particular task, BDNF helps connect brain to body function.

In the tests given to 29 people, those with the gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse than people without it, according to Cramer.

The team continues to conduct tests and further research to delve deeper into this enigmatic theory in hopes of perhaps one day creating a commercially available test to determine whether or not someone has the gene variant.

UC Irvine to Host Religion Forum in the Student Center

UC Irvine will host the 16th annual Religious Diversity Forum on Saturday, Nov 7, 2009 in the UCI Student Center.

This year’s theme for the forum addresses “Faith and Community Service,” according to David Levinson—the keynote speaker for this event.

The Religious Diversity Forum has been around since 1993, when it was first organized to explore the different religious orientations and indigenous traditions of Orange County residents.

For a cool $45, one can attend the various presentations that will be given by representatives from eight faiths, as well as attend a seminar on how to make change within one’s own community.

The event will take place from 9 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit