This week heralded the end of the spring semester, with the last day of classes on Monday and the first day of the final exam period today.
This week also saw passage in Congress of the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of the 2017 federal fiscal year, approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday. Overall, federal science agencies were spared the major cuts that had been requested by the White House, and several agencies received budget increases (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/how-science-fares-us-budget-deal).
The National Academy of Sciences held its annual meeting from Saturday through Tuesday, and on Saturday evening I had the pleasure of witnessing Maureen Raymo’s induction into the Academy as one of the class of members elected one year ago. This was also the first annual meeting overseen by geophysicist and NAS President Marcia McNutt, and her first presidential address was covered by Eos (https://eos.org/articles/academy-president-warns-of-storm-clouds-on-the-horizon).
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced this week that Ryan Abernathey has received a Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant, “established to provide additional financial support to junior faculty to help complete projects to meet the expectations for tenure” (http://fas.columbia.edu/faculty-resources/junior-faculty-resources). Ryan’s award was given “to organize a conference on ‘New perspectives in ocean mixing and transport.’” Congratulations, Ryan!
On Monday, Congresswoman Nita Lowey visited Lamont to give a press conference about the importance of federal funding for climate science (https://lowey.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/lowey-highlights-devastating-local-impacts-first-100-days-president). Congresswoman Lowey’s 17th New York District includes Rockland County and portions of Westchester County, she’s the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and she’s long been a spokesperson for science in general and for women in science in particular. Other participants in the briefing, given to a standing-room-only crowd in the Comer Seminar Room – included Art Lerner-Lam, Sheean Haley, Rockland County Legislature’s Environmental Committee Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, Riverkeeper President Paul Galley, and Sierra Club Lower Hudson Valley Secretary Gale Pisha. The event was covered by WAMC (http://wamc.org/post/ny-congresswoman-stands-scientists-denounce-proposed-budget-cuts), and a full video of the briefing has been posted on the Lamont web site (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/video/congresswoman-nita-loweys-press-conference).
On Wednesday, Yonaton Goldsmith successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic of “Trans-Asian glacial–interglacial paleohydroclimate reconstructed using lake geomorphology and organic and inorganic stable isotopes.” Yoni’s committee included Wally Broecker, Peter de Menocal, Yochanan Kushnir, Pratigya Polissar, and David McGee from MIT. Yoni will soon head west to take a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Congratulations, Dr. Goldsmith!
Also on Wednesday, the Research as Art exhibition – delayed from its planned opening last Friday – premiered in the Comer Atrium and Seminar Room. Organized by Anna Barth, Kyle Frischkorn, Hannah Rabinowitz, Joshua Russell, and Maayan Yehudai, the exhibition was the fourth in an annual series (https://researchasart.wordpress.com/). Awards were given in several categories. The winner in the sculpture category was “Forest of floating foci,” by Natalie Accardo, Genevieve Coffey, Celia Eddy, Emily Hopper, Helen Janiszewski, and Hannah Rabinowitz. The winner in the movie category was “Surface waves and free oscillations” by Josh Russell, Celia Eddy, and Arthur Pate. And the winner in the image category was “A starry vortex night” by Julius Busecke. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all who contributed!
On Wednesday evening, Sonya Dyhrman was the featured speaker in the Earth Institute’s Distinguished Lecture Series, held at the Lotos Club in New York City. Sonya spoke on “Climate and ocean health: Tracking a sea of genes,” and after her opening remarks she answered questions from Peter de Menocal, who served as moderator for the presentation, as well as the audience. Marie Aronsohn, Farhana Mather, and I joined Steve Cohen and others from the Earth Institute for the event.
The news this week includes a Live Science interview with Peter de Menocal Saturday on the anticipated consequences of global warming (http://www.livescience.com/58891-why-2-degrees-celsius-increase-matters.html). That same day, Andrew Goodwillie’s hike six years ago to a rapidly melting Alpine glacier was the topic of a story on Nyack News & Views (http://www.nyacknewsandviews.com/2017/04/earth-matters-climate-change/). On Monday The Journal News featured an article on Mark Cane and climate change, Superstorm Sandy, and related topics (http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2017/05/01/lamont-professor-sees-affects-climate-change-rockland/100924516/).
This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by our own Donna Shillington. Donna will speak on “Diet affects behavior: How ingested fluids and sediments influence Alaska subduction zone earthquakes.” Whether your own diet emphasizes fluids or sediments, I hope that you can hear her lecture.