Friday Lite: Bruce's Big Balloon Battle at Briggs

Aug 22, 2008

Friday lite.

That’s what it was.

But it was more than that, too.

Every year, Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, wages a water balloon battle for faculty, researchers, graduate students, staff, family and friends.

It takes place on the lawn, north side of Briggs Hall, near his basement lab and offices. We like to kid around that he’s located on the “garden level” of Briggs. When Hammock hosts Bruce’s Big Balloon Battle at Briggs, it becomes the “water level.”

This year (Friday, Aug. 15) they filled 2500 water balloons and then threw them at one another. Every year when the water balloons are all gone, they empty the buckets—which really makes for some nice photos. I’m glad Bruce Hammock can be so accommodating!

“Nobody can beat Bruce Hammock at water balloons,” said  former administrative assistant Jeanette Martin, who returned for the big balloon battle.

The Hammock lab works hard and plays hard.

Bruce Dupree Hammock just won the 2008 UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching; he was nominated for his "dedication to his students, his interdisciplinary thrust, and his scientific and professional career guidance."

“This award is one of the most prestigious granted on the UC Davis campus and recognizes consistent outstanding teaching and commitment to student success,” said Krishnan Nambiar, chair of the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award Committee in a letter to Hammock nominator Michael Denison, professor of environmental toxicology.

Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor of entomology at UC Davis, described Hammock as an excellent teacher and mentor.  “I can unequivocally tell you that teaching is Dr. Hammock’s passion. He considers teaching the most important role of his university career...He motivates, encourages and inspires, molding a whole new generation of scientists who are discovering ways to benefit humankind.”

Hammock is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and holds a joint appointment in Cancer Research with the UC Davis Medical Center. He directs the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)  Superfund Program on the UC Davis campus, as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Program in Biotechnology, and the NIEHS Combined Analytical Laboratory.

In the last five years Hammock has hosted more than 40 postdoctoral fellows or senior scientists.  He has helped train future entomologists, biochemists, engineers, chemists and biologists.

You could say he also trains them to be water warriors.

Make that water warriors, extraordinaire.



By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

Wei Xu, of chemical ecologist Walter Leal's lab, gets drenched. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Wei Xu

Research scientist Christophe Morisseau of the Hammock lab scores a hit on graduate student Karen Wagner. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Christophe Morisseau and Karen Wagner

Jun Yang (left), a postdoctoral fellow in the Bruce Hammock lab and an analytical chemist, gets drenched by entomologist Junaid ur Rehman, who is visiting the Bruce Hammock lab from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jun Yang and Junaid ur Rehman

Bruce Hammock wipes water from his face. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"Water Warrior" Bruce Hammock

Splat! Someone scores a direct hit on Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Moment of impact