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Coordinates: 37°52′17″N 122°15′42″W 37.87139, -122.26167

Valley Life Sciences Building

  • Museum of Paleontology [1]
  • Built in 1930


  • Contrary to the almost universal assumption, the Valley in VLSB does not denote a geographical feature. Rather, it is named after Wayne and Gladys Valley, who donated a lot of cash for the renovation in the early 1990s. There is actually a plaque in the main south entrance of the VLSB that states this. Apparently, even many parts of the University administration have forgotten this, calling the building the Valley Life Sciences Building as its full name when other buildings have the names spelled out in full. (example: Walter A. Haas School of Business, Stephen D. Bechtel Engineering Center) [1]
  • That is not to say that there is no geographical valley. Strawberry Creek runs just south of the building, creating a very slight valley.[1]
  • When built in 1930, the VLSB was the state of the art, and was the largest building in Berkeley, and also the largest concrete building west of the Mississippi. The interior of the building was completely gutted and rebuilt in a renovation in the early 1990s, and the building is once again state of the art. Seventy years later, although larger buldings now exist west of the Mississippi, the VLSB with a total of 400,000 square feet of space is still the largest building on campus, after Dwinelle Hall (300,000 square feet).[1]
  • The exterior of the building is decorated in its original 1930s surface, complete with animal-shaped ornaments and the names of eight life science departments carved on the side. They are:[1]
    • Anatomy
    • Bacteriology
    • Biochemistry
    • Botany
    • Physiology
    • Psychology
    • Vertebrate Zoology
    • Zoology
  • The phrase "The Life Sciences" is carved in on the center of the north and south facades.[1]
  • Of the eight departments only the Psychology department still exists, and it has been moved across campus to Tolman Hall, where it now resides with the Education department. The others disappeared in a reorganization of the entire life sciences at Berkeley in the 1980s. Here are their present day equivalents.[1]
    • Anatomy- Integrative Biology (IB)
    • Bacteriology- Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB)
    • Biochemistry- Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)
    • Botany- Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB)
    • Physiology- Integrative Biology (IB)
    • Psychology- Psychology
    • Vertebrate Zoology- Integrative Biology (IB)
    • Zoology- Integrative Biology (IB)
  • PMB is part of the College of Natural Resources now and has its own building, the Genetics and Plant Biology Building.
  • Places to Check Out:[1]
      1. T-Rex. A genuine T-Rex skeleton stands in front of the UC Museum of Paleontology, along with other fossils. Not sure if he or she has a name. In the center north-south corridor, basement level.
      2. Life Sciences Libary. The library with the most comforable furniture. A series of mezzanines in the back of the libary, fitted out with oversize seats and soothing flourescent lighting, is prime snoozing space where many an overworked Molecular and Cellular Biology major can be found napping. In the west end of the building.
      3. Bridge to Life Sciences Addition. Sometimes locked, but worth checking out. Located on the fifth floor, it features translucent windows that change color over the time of the day. A very slick high-tech looking space that looks right out of a space station. It even has automatic doors, which are particularly unique as they aren't the sliding type.
      4. VLSB Courtyard. Usually locked, but would be a great place to study if it weren't.


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