Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, May 10, 2013

The week has befitted the season, with deciduous trees freshly leafed and days of warm and sunny skies interspersed with drenching but needed showers.

Lamont’s spring 2013 newsletter was released early this week and will arrive shortly in the mailboxes of thousands of the Observatory’s alumni and friends. Thanks to the considerable efforts of Rebecca Fowler and colleagues at the Earth Institute, this issue has a new design and is the first to be printed in color. You may.....

Lamont Weekly Report, May 3, 2013

The highlight of the week was the election on Tuesday morning of Mark Cane and Terry Plank to membership in the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/climate-scientist-volcanologist-elected-national-academy-sciences). Academy membership is one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a U.S. scientist, so seeing two of our Lamont colleagues elected in the same year is a special pleasure.  Please join me in congratulating Mark and Terry this afternoon at a special reception....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 26, 2013

The week began with the third in our Spring Public Lectures, given at Lamont Sunday afternoon by Emily Klein, on sabbatical leave this spring from Duke University as a Visiting Senior Research Scientist in the Observatory’s Geochemistry Division. Emily spoke on “Volcanoes and vents: A hidden world beneath the sea” to an appreciative audience.

Late last week, Lamont’s IcePod team of 10 scientists and engineers flew to Greenland with the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. Mounted on the outer hull of an LC-130, the IcePod imaging system includes a deep-ice radar, a shallow-ice radar, a LIDAR, an infrared camera, a visible photogrammetric camera, and a precis....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 19, 2013

The week began with Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, and the dual explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That horrific event put into mundane perspective the confluence of scientific proposals, reference letters, and income tax payments all due on the same day.

Good news arrived nonetheless with the announcement from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences that three current DEES graduate students and one incoming student have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowships, and two graduate students received honorable mention in the selection....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 12, 2013

Through much of the week, the warmth and sunshine made a convincing case that the spring season is underway, at least in our part of the globe.

I am pleased to report that Alex Chekalyuk has received an Antarctica Service Medal. The medal is awarded by the National Science Foundation in recognition of service on a U. S. Antarctic expedition. According to the Foundation’s website, “the outer bands of black and dark blue [on the medal’s ribbon] comprise five-twelfths of the ribbon’s width,....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 5, 2013

Over the week I heard many comments about unseasonably cold temperatures in the New York City area. Reports from informed colleagues that the North Atlantic Oscillation may have been a contributor offered little in the way of additional warmth.
 
I am pleased to report that Klaus Jacob has been....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 29, 2013

The first full week of spring has brought the welcome change that the Sun is once again in the sky for a majority of each day.

I am sorry to report that Barbara Algert, a longtime member of the staff in Lamont’s Office of Purchasing, died on 18 March. Barbara worked on this campus from 1985 until 1997. An obituary for her appeared in the Rockland Journal News last week....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 22, 2013

This week Congress finally passed budgets for the government fiscal year now nearly half over. Almost as if to reward themselves, they promptly took a two-week recess. 

Peter Kelemen received the good news this week that he has been elected a Geochemistry Fellow of The Geochemical Society and The European Association of Geochemistry. This honor is bestowed on “outstanding scientists who have, over some years, made a major....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 15, 2013

This week began with the loss of an hour’s sleep, as the onset of Daylight Savings Time was ushered in by the second Sunday in March.

The week ended with the sad news that Karl Turekian passed away this afternoon. A giant in geochemistry, Karl was both an alumnus (Ph.D., 1955) and a great friend of Columbia and Lamont. A note from his department chair at Yale directs Karl’s friends anc.....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 8, 2013

In the first week following sequestration of the federal budget, we all await the sound of a second shoe hitting the floor above, but business otherwise proceeds as usual.

Tiffany Shaw learned this week that she is to receive a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation. The NSF website states that “the…CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 1, 2013

This week ended as sequestration of the federal budget is set to take effect. With nary a whimper and no bang, the House of Representatives adjourned for the weekend on Thursday. One day earlier, NSF issued an “Important Notice” stating that the effect of the sequester at that agency would primarily be felt by a reduction in new awards and that funding agreements for existing and continuing grants would generally be honored, at least for the remainder of this government....

Lamont Weekly Report, February 22, 2013

The highlight of this week was the award of the Vetlesen Prize on Thursday evening to Jean Jouzel, of the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, and Susan Solomon, of MIT. Attendance at the reception, dinner, and awards ceremony in the Low Library rotunda exceeded 230, a record for a Vetlesen Prize evening. Many from Lamont attended in their formal wear, including a number of graduate students and alumni. Also joining the occasion were....

Lamont Weekly Report, February 15, 2013

This week was ushered in by the largest snowstorm of the season for the northeastern U.S. At least we had a weekend to dig out.

I am pleased to report several promotions, all effective as of the beginning of this month. Joerg Schaeffer and Gisela Winckler have been promoted to Lamont Research Professor, and....

Lamont Weekly Report, February 8, 2013

The end of the week finds all of us witnessing the arrival of blizzard conditions, after the cancellation today of several Lamont seminars, meetings, and the Earth Science Colloquium. And this on a day when an ancestor to placental mammals, including Homo Sapiens,.....

Lamont Weekly Report, February 1, 2013

Every now and then, a finding from another field of science reminds me that the workings of our planet are sometimes more fascinating than we imagine. A story posted by The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/01/dung-beetles-danc...) on Sunday describes a paper in Current Biology by a Swedish team reporting that a species of dung beetle uses the position of the Milky Way to.....

Lamont Weekly Report, January 25, 2013

The week began with the inauguration of our nation’s President for a second term. His inaugural address on Monday included a full paragraph worthy of sustained note by all of us, clearly focused as it was on those challenges addressed daily at Lamont and across the Earth Institute:

Lamont Weekly Report, January 18, 2013

It is the last week before classes resume at Columbia, but it was a busy week nonetheless. 

On Monday, the university announced that Susan Solomon of MIT and Jean Jouzel of the Commisariat à l’Énergie Atomique will share the 2012 Vetlesen Prize (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/two-climate-scientists-win-vetl...). Solomon is being recognized for identifying the physical and chemical processes that produce the Antarctic....

Lamont Weekly Report, January 11, 2013

The week has been filled with good news.

On Monday, word came from the International Association for the Physical Sciences in the Ocean (IAPSO) that Arnold Gordon is to receive the association’s Prince Albert I Medal for 2013. The medal, named for prince of Monaco who was the founding president of the organization from which IAPSO evolved, is awarded once every two years. Only the seventh recipient of this medal, Arnold was cited “for his outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the general circulation of the ocean and especially for his studies of the Southern Ocean and inter-ocean exchange.” The medal will be awarded at the next IAPSO General Assembly, to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July...

Lamont Weekly Report, January 4, 2013

It’s a second three-day workweek in a row, this one with a thin layer of snow on the ground, a new calendar on the wall, and the promise of new adventures as the next twelve months unfold.     

Today marked the arrival to Lamont of Craig Manning, who is spending the spring semester at the Observatory while on sabbatical leave from the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA. A Professor of Geology and Geochemistry and recent department chair, Craig is an expert on high-pressure aqueous geochemistry, metamorphic petrology, and submarine and terrestrial hydrothermal systems...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 28, 2012

A three-day workweek at the end of the calendar year finds many of us on travel or with families, a welcome respite before research and educational programs resume apace in the New Year. 

Today’s lead editorial in the Times is a well-reasoned call for President Obama to exercise greater leadership on the issue of climate change mitigation. The recommendation for further actions on limiting greenhouse gas emissions is welcome, even as most news from....