Lamont Weekly Report, April 6, 2012

The letter from President Bollinger and Provost Coatsworth announcing the appointment of Sean Solomon as Lamont's next Director signals a new era at the Observatory. We have been fortunate throughout our 63-year history to be led by a succession of outstanding and canonical directors. Under Mike Purdy's directorship, the Observatory achieved new heights of accomplishment and stability, from the successful acquisition of a new ship, to the construction of a world-class
geochemistry building, to the hiring of peerless scientists, to, finally, the establishment of the Lamont Research Professors. We are in the perfect position for new achievements with Sean as our colleague and our Director. The years to come will be exciting, challenging, and fun.

Sean's tenure starts July 1. The next three months will be transitional. We will be introducing Sean and Pam to the Lamont and Columbia communities, to our neighbors here in Rockland County, and, not least, to life in New York City. Finally - and no surprise to anyone familiar with our director inaugurals - we will have a blowout celebration to mark their arrival.

We must have achieved some level of status on Morningside: the news was picked up by the Blue and White (, which named Sean as the new go-to source for undergraduate term papers in DEES.

In other news...

Kuheli Dutt and our Post-Docs organized the first of what I hope will be an annual Post-Doc Symposium. Unfortunately, I could only attend part of it, but I've heard that it was a smashing success. Our post-doc cohort has always been and continues to be a remarkable group. There are 35 post-docs on campus - a record - and we will probably be adding to
that total next year. (For comparison, we count 75 Lamont Research Professors on staff.) The Symposium allows our post-docs to flex their wits before a friendly but scientifically demanding audience, and gives the permanent staff an opportunity to see what the post-docs are up to. Just as important, I hope activities such as this one will provide a
sense of cohesiveness and institutional imprint for our post-doc scientists.

We hosted a reception Wednesday evening for a distinguished group of visitors from the Bruce Museum, which is in Greenwich. Our development office organized a tour of four labs: the Polar Tech Center (Frearson), the OBS Lab (Barclay), the Core Repository (Raymo), and Kelemen's rock lab. The Bruce (as it's called) represents another opportunity for us to spread our name, and we will be continuing the relationship with some additional programming later this year. Thanks also to Frank Gumper, chair of our Advisory Board, for helping with the connection.

We will make our budget presentation to the Provost and Columbia's Executive VP for Finance on Monday afternoon, alongside the Earth Institute. Edie Miller and her staff have been working for a few months providing the underlying details. I have every expectation that this will go smoothly.

Finally, it's opening day for the Yankees. Now, on to the important matter of who will come in second in the American League East.