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CGB Hall of Fame Semifinal: (2)Mike Mohamed v. (6)Alex Filippenko

Our next semifinal matchup comes out of the Joe Kapp Region and features football star Mike Mohamed taking on Science Professor Alex Filippenko. Mohamed got here by taking out Syd'Quan Thompson fairly easily while Filippenko barely beat JJ Arrington. We'll take a closer look at both of them and then you can cast your vote to decide who moves on. You can take a look at the whole bracket here and voting will end Friday at noon. GO BEARS!

Ezra Shaw

(2) Mike Mohamed

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Royrules sums it up nicely:

"He of Big Game glory. He went from an unheralded 2* recruit to a top-notch LB in the Pac-10." The pride of Brawley, CA, he was versatile and smart enough to play all three positions in a 4-3, or play either inside/outside in a 3-4. When fully healthy, he was an instinctive player who was a sure-tackler and equally adept defending the run or pass."

From Remembering the Seniors:

Hydrotech: " I remember when Mohamed first arrived on campus, there was a lot of talk about how the coaches thought he really was going to be special despite not being a big time recruit or the flashiest guy. Looks to me like they were right. I think Mohamed is definitely one of the best "diamonds in the rough" that the coaches found in the past five years or so."

Berkelium97: "In addition to remembering everything he did on the field, I remember his interesting background. He came from a small town in Imperial County, where he grew up on his family's farm. The farm was established by Mike's great grandfather, who left India, became a citizen, and bought 1000 acres of land. The farm has since been passed down through the family and played a big role in Mike's life when he was growing up. During his interviews at the Combine, Mike kept emphasizing his hard-nosed, blue collar work ethic. When asked about his life growing up, Mike says he learned these values by working at the farm. Off the field he works just as hard, as he was named to the Pac-10's all-academic team each of his four years. In a way, Mike is a lot like another recent Cal grad who earned great respect for his tremendous work ethic on and off the field: Alex Mack."

And the picture that is worth 1,000 words:



(6)Alex Filippenko

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Birthdate: July 25, 1958 in Oakland, CA

Education: B.A. Physics, 1979, University of California, Santa Barbara; Ph. D, Astronomy, 1984, California Institute of Technology

Institution: Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences; University of California, Berkeley

His official Bio:

Alex Filippenko is the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences. His accomplishments, documented in about 700 research papers, have been recognized by several major prizes, and he is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. In 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and he shared part of the Gruber Cosmology Prize in 2007. He has won the top teaching awards at UC Berkeley and has been voted the "Best Professor" on campus a record 9 times. In 2006 he was selected as the Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions, and in 2010 he won the ASP's Emmons Award for undergraduate teaching. He has produced five astronomy video courses with "The Great Courses," coauthored an award-winning textbook, and appears in numerous TV documentaries including about 40 episodes of "The Universe" series. An avid tennis player, hiker, and skier, he enjoys world travel and is addicted to observing total solar eclipses (11 so far).

Former students weigh in:

iVinishe: Alex Filippenko holds a special place in my Cal experience. Professor Filippenko was the first faculty member I interacted with on a meaningful level at Cal. Though I was merely a high school senior who possibly could go to another institution, Professor Filippenko still took the time to get to know me and offer a bit of advice into my difficult decision. 3 years later, he still remembered my name, despite our having no contact during that time period.

In 2006, Filippenko was named the CASE Professor of the Year award, beating out other professors from universities across the country for the honor. A frequent guest on astronomy documentaries, Filippenko can often be seen on the History Channel's "The Universe". He and his research group have performed some of the most groundbreaking research in astronomy; one project Filippenko collaborated and did extensive work on on went on to garner the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for Saul Perlmutter, another Cal professor. Filippenko himself is on some 660 published papers. In 2000, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences - just one of a laundry list of awards and accolades he has collected in his career.

In spite of his research accomplishments, Filippenko still takes the time to run Astro C10: Introduction to General Astronomy, a course Filippenko passionately teaches every fall. A professor with a stated philosphy "to bring the magnificence of the cosmos to the students and to show them that through careful observations, experiments and interpretations, we humans have the potential to understand how our universe works," Filippenko has consistently been voted the Best Professor at Cal, and Astro C10 is one of the most popular courses on campus. Filippenko is also active in student life, often serving as a guest speaker for student receptions and faculty dinners. In his time at Cal, Filippenko has touched and improved the lives of more students than almost any other professor in the world.

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He even helped us get a Cal star

Following in the footsteps of the colors blue and gold, the Golden Bear and Oski, the campus mascot, comes UC Berkeley's own star system. Located in the Cygnus constellation, the double star Albireo - consisting of one blue and one gold star that circle endlessly- has been adopted by UC Berkeley's Student Senate.

Minesweeper: Filippenko was by far my favorite professor while at Berkeley (my major was EECS). He has the ability to describe complex concepts in simple, accessible terms with an infectious enthusiasm. Just watch his talk at TEDxSF from a couple years ago to get an idea of what I'm talking about. He's been voted the "Best Professor" on campus many times, and was a member of both teams that discovered (in 1998) that the Universe's expansion is accelerating.