Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, June 18 2010

If there is one problem that never goes away - it is the problem of space. There is never enough of it, and on the rare occasion that thereis, then it is in the wrong place.  It is very healthy that we arealways feeling space pressure because it means that we are growing - bringing in new resources - and as the ~$16M that we (or more correctly you - the PIs) won in federal stimulus grants this year beginsto get spent (i.e. new people hired) the pressure to find space to put them grows.  I had several meetings this week focused upon trying to solve specific problems - and there will be more in the coming weeks and months. One good piece of news on this front is that the competitive process to select the architect and construction manager for the New Core Lab renovation project is complete and so, finally, we are a few weeks away from finishing off the award negotiations with NSF. In the short term, of course, this project will only add to our space woes because we shall have to find swing space to house folks temporarily as the second floor of the New Core lab gets completely taken apart and rebuilt...

Lamont Weekly Report, June 11 2010

We held another highly successful meeting of the Executive Committee of our Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday afternoon - with star speakers Terry Plank talking about the unpronounceable Iceland volcano, and Stefan Mrozewski from the Borehole Research Group providing a balanced (and comprehensible) view of what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico. The Advisory Board is really coming of age - it is becoming more and more effective with every meeting, contributing more resources to the support of the Observatory and playing a critical role in our fund raising campaigns.  Our major topic of discussion on Wednesday was planning for a major event in late September targeted at attracting a significant increase in membership of the Board - as our visibility on the public stage improves, it is time to try for a significant growth spurt...

Lamont Weekly Report, June 4 2010

What can I say?  I have never been...

Lamont Weekly Report, May 28 2010

The week was consumed by the annual marathon session with the Associate Directors on Tuesday and Wednesday, finalizing the merit review process for all the research Staff.  As always this was a grueling task - looking at everyone's accomplishments one-by-one - but important and it is always enlightening.  I just wish that the pool of funds for raises was more than the measly 2 per cent that is in fact available.  I understand full well that especially after the essential
non-existence of raises last year, that this is a hard pill to swallow.  It has to get better next year...

Lamont Weekly Report, May 21, 2010

We held the seventh annual Mentoring Award event earlier this afternoon - there were seven excellent nominees for the award - all of whom deserve recognition and thanks for the positive impact they have on the Observatory.  The nominees were Nick Christie-Blick, Ed Cook, Sid Hemming, Juerg Matter, Naomi Naik, Adam Sobel and Maya Tolstoy. The selection Committee chaired by Chris Zappa had a tough time selecting one awardee from this list of great nominees, but as those of you who attended the ceremony this afternoon already know - this year's awardee was Adam Sobel of the Ocean and Climate Physics Division.  Many thanks to Chris Zappa and his committee for leading this process and especially thanks to Alexey Kaplan for stepping in to help out this afternoon while Chris was out of town...

Lamont Weekly Report, May 14, 2010

I hope everyone saw Chris Zappa's recent announcement about this year's Mentoring Award - many congratulations to all the excellent nominees.  Please join us (a week today) for the ceremony at which this year's awardee will be identified - 4pm Friday 21st May in the Monell Auditorium - reception to follow. A cash prize of $2000 comes along with the certificate of recognition - so it is a big deal!!...

Lamont Weekly Report, May 7, 2010

ExCom this morning turned into a marathon, lasting almost three hours.

Three new appointments as DARS were considered and discussion topics ranged from addressing the neglected issue of the important role that Project Scientists play in the Observatory to consideration of new formal policies to improve the quality of mentoring that we provide for post docs.  Jim Cochran took over from Chris Small as the MG&G representative and Donna Shillington replaced Andreas Thurnherr as the Junior Staff rep...

Lamont Weekly Report, April 30, 2010

onathan Cole (ex Provost of CU) stopped by Lamont briefly on Wednesday - it was great to see him again and talk about his recently published book on the great American research universities. I continue to try to get him to come here and give a talk about this.

Wednesday night Allied Bernstein (the investment banking company) hosted a development event for us at their headquarters in mid-town - Peter Kelemen and Peter deMenocal were the stars - they again did a great job of engaging non-climate scientists (who are important decision-makers) in insightful discussions about the future of our planet...

Lamont Weekly Report, April 23, 2010

It has been a very busy week - nine different appointments in my diary for today - but at least they were all here at Lamont. Yesterday I had to make two separate trips downtown - the first was for the annual formal budget presentation with the Provost (which is always so much fun), and the second was for the last EI Faculty meeting of the academic year - at which the keynote speaker was... the Provost...

Lamont Weekly Report, April 16, 2010

The Monell Auditorium was essentially full last Sunday afternoon for our annual alumni lecture, that followed a lunch to honor many of Lamont's good friends and supporters. Jerry McManus was the speaker and he did a superb job of educating the highly diverse audience on the intricacies of ocean currents and climate change.  This Sunday Gisela Winckler will have the stage for her talk that is titled "Dust in the Wind: Dust, Stardust and Earth's Climate System"...

Lamont Weekly Report, April 9, 2010

while simultaneously grappling with the realities of getting our research vessel, Langseth, out of the shipyard in Portland Oregon and through all the necessary Coast Guard inspections so she can sail west across the Pacific to begin her 2010 field season. Ship operations are such a joy...

It is our Alumni Spring Pubic Lecture this Sunday - Jerry McManus is giving a talk with the acutely alliterative title  - Currents, Conveyors and Climate Change. This is very timely in many ways - because a week today we celebrate 50 years as a DEES Professor for the father of the conveyor belt idea - Wally Broecker. ..

Lamont Weekly Report, April 2, 2010

I think we all are aware of the identity of the innovative individual responsible for developing and posting the highly believable notices around the campus yesterday announcing Lamont's new  Electric Vehicle Plug-in program.  I was reaching for the phone to call Pat O'Reilly to ask him why he had not told me about this, when I remembered the date...

Lamont Weekly Report, March 26, 2010

Busy week with the huge 'State of the Planet' conference going on down town, as well as the formal 'kick-off' meeting with Program Managers from NIST marking the start of the project to construct the worlds largest and most capable ultra clean lab for Geochemistry in the Comer Building. NIST is providing us with ~$1.4M to support this...

Lamont Weekly Report, March 19, 2010

Many Lamonters have had a very tough week, living without power at home for several days, and in some cases sustaining damage to their houses or cars from falling trees. I hope everyone is back to normal now.  On the Campus we owe a great debt of gratitude to our grounds crew for keeping our generators going throughout the outage from
Saturday afternoon to Tuesday night, and for all the cleanup that has been necessary...

Lamont Weekly Report, March 15, 2010

One too many 14 hour days this week, so more than usual, I am glad it is Friday.

There was a highly successful and very well-attended Lamont Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Aside from great science presentations by Tim Creyts, Art Lerner Lam, Adam Sobel and Mike Steckler, we had Cecilia McHugh and Nano Seeber on the phone, live, from the research vessel Endeavor, working offshore Haiti...

Lamont Weekly Report, March 5, 2010

The February 22nd issue of the Columbia record finally made it to the top of my pile and who should be on the front page but a very peaceful-looking Steve Goldstein - many congratulations Steve - he won one of the seven University-wide Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Awards - in recognition of his exceptional teaching and mentoring skills.  A well deserved honor...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 26, 2010

It was a week full of meetings - probably five or more every day - until the snow brought everything to a grinding halt on Thursday. Truly a grinding halt - I ended up in the Oceanography parking lot at 515pm on Thursday evening with Pat O'Reilly trying to dig our skidding cars out of the thick snow...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 19, 2010

It snowed in Charleston SC while I was there last weekend visiting the grandchildren - it was quite a phenomenon down there - I have never seen so many abandoned vehicles, even though within a day it was all melted and temperatures were back in the 50's! Driving home on Monday, 800 miles in less than 12 hours in a rented minivan full of people all related to me in ways both vague and specific, but all less than half my age - was an education.

Doubtless many of you have seen various analyses of the President's budget for the science agencies for 2011 - it looks good for NSF, but of course it is way too early in the process for genuine optimism...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 12, 2010

hope everyone made it through the snow storm on Wednesday without too much difficulty or inconvenience - it was a difficult decision to decide to close Lamont, but as the forecast proved to be accurate, it was, this time at least, the right call...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 5, 2010

Too many meetings about the impossible problem of space this week - not that we do not have enough of it, just that what we have is never quite located in the right place... Our successes in tapping into the Federal Stimulus funds now mean we have to find growth space for a number of our research groups - it is indeed a good problem to have.