Lamont Weekly Report, July 29, 2016

     Carlos Gutierrez retired today after devoting more than 43 years to Lamont, mostly on our oceanographic ships. Carlos sailed on more than 150 cruises on the R/V Vema, Conrad, Ewing, and Langseth, in addition to work in our machine shop and Office of Marine Operations. His introduction to Lamont’s vessels began in July 1973 when he sailed on the Vema for 13 months in a row, took two months off, and then sailed another 9 months in a row, for 25 cruise legs in all. Columbia News featured an article on Carlos and his storied seagoing career last fall (

     In an e-mail to the campus this week, Carlos wrote, “It has been both an honor and a privilege to work for such a fine institution. I started working at Lamont as a young man in the 70s. I had immigrated to the United States and the University gave me my first job. It also gave me the opportunity to learn and become proficient in a trade, travel the world, learn so much about technology, the oceans, different cultures, and so much more. My job has been a lifetime of wonderful growth and experiences. As I prepare to leave what has been my second home, I want to say to all the Lamont staff, techs, crew members, bosses, and scientists I have had the opportunity to work with over the past 43 years plus: Thank you. The times and experiences shared, friendships forged, and the enjoyment of working together as a team have been an extraordinary part of my life. I appreciate each and every single one of you. It has been a pleasure working with all of you.” To Carlos, wherever your retirement takes you, Buen Viaje!

     The Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics Division also bid farewell this week to Postdoctoral Research Scientist Peter James. Peter has been named a Urey Fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston for the coming year, after which he will take an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Geosciences at Baylor University. Kudos to Peter, Lamont’s newest Texan!

     On the list of new Fellows of the American Geophysical Union that AGU released on Tuesday are two Lamont and Columbia alumni: Bob Kay (Ph.D., 1970) and Uri ten Brink (Ph.D., 1986). Uri is a Research Geophysicist at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. Bob is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University and joined Lamont’s Advisory Board last year. To Bob and Uri, congratulations!

     Several groups of visitors toured the R/V Langseth this week while the ship is at SUNY Maritime College in The Bronx. On Tuesday, Steve Cohen, Dong Guo, Alison Miller, and Casey Supple from the Earth Institute; EI Management Advisory Board member Curtis Probst; guest Yong Zhang, chairman of Xinyuan Real Estate; and several of Mr. Zhang’s colleagues were given a tour by Sean Higgins, Art Lerner-Lam, and Farhana Mather. On Wednesday, Sean, Art, Farhana, Suzanne Carbotte, Dave Goldberg, Greg Mountain, Donna Shillington, Stacey Vassallo, and I led Langseth tours by two groups. The first group included Columbia University Trustees Lisa Carnoy and Kenneth Forde (and Ken’s grandson, Michael), Columbia Campaign Executive Committee member Keith Goggin, Columbia’s Executive Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations Amelia Alverson, Columbia University Medical Center Senior Director of Development Suzanne Altshuler, Columbia’s Vice President for Alumni Relations Donna MacPhee, and Office of Alumni and Development’s Associate Director for University Events and Programs Doreen Duffy. In the second group were Lamont Director’s Circle member Mitch Garrigan and his son Bruce, and Barnard and Columbia Business School alumna Monica Taylor and her nephew Thomas.

     At yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Deans, the principal agenda item was a discussion of the possibility that the National Labor Relations Board may reverse a longstanding position by deciding that graduate students at private universities are university employees and as such governed by the National Labor Relations Act. If NLRB makes such a ruling, then Columbia students with teaching assistant and research assistant appointments may be invited to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of having their interests represented by the United Auto Workers and given an opportunity to express their views in an election. We can expect further discussion of these issues in the early fall.

     Appearing on Lamont’s web site this week is a Kim Martineau story on the newest working group in Columbia’s Data Science Institute ( The Frontiers in Computing Systems working group (, which includes Ryan Abernathey, Kerstin Lehnert, and Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies among its 13 Members and Mark Cane as an Affiliated Member, describes itself as “a nexus to connect (i) those who design and analyze high-performance computing systems for big data, and (ii) system users, from a variety of application areas.” Ryan, Kerstin, and Mark can provide more information to the curious.

     Also new to our web site is a Rebecca Fowler story on the 12 high-school interns working at Lamont this summer under cooperative programs between the Center for Climate and Life and several schools in the area ( The interns are working in the labs of Billy D’Andrea, Sid Hemming, Einat Lev, and Brad Linsley, and each will be making a presentation on his or her research project between 2 and 3 pm this afternoon in Monell Auditorium.

     In the news this week, Marco Tedesco’s work on the relation between changes in Arctic weather systems and changes to surficial melting of the Greenland ice sheet anchor a portion of a Jon Gertner story posted today in The New York Times Magazine ( on the response of Arctic sea ice to Arctic amplification, the higher than average rates of atmospheric warming at high northern latitudes. And Bridgit Boulahanis has begun a blog from a Deep Submergence Scientific Leadership Cruise on the R/V Atlantis (, a training cruise designed to expose early-career marine geologists and geophysicists to the capabilities of the piloted submersible Alvin and the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry to conduct seafloor exploration and collect images, samples, and other data.

     Nominations are still being accepted for the 12th Lamont Campus Excellence in Mentoring Award ( The award recognizes the importance of outstanding mentoring, and the nominee can be any member of the scientific, technical, or administrative staff with at least five years of service. The deadline for nominations is next Monday, August 1.

     From Monday through Thursday next week, Lamont will host a Workshop on Internal Cycling of Trace Elements in the Ocean, jointly sponsored by the GEOTRACES Program and the Ocean Carbon and Biochemistry activity of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program ( Bob Anderson serves as one of the leads of the workshop organizing committee. Over 100 participants are expected to attend the sessions, which will be held in Monell Auditorium.

     In the meantime, may you all enjoy the warm weekend ahead and the quadrennial transition from politics – and stories this year about Russian hackers of Democratic National Committee e-mails – to the Olympics – and stories this year about drug-enhanced Russian athletes.