Director's Weekly Reports

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....

Lamont Weekly Report, December 21, 2012

If the number of holiday parties and their culinary offerings are measures of the collective enthusiasm and energy of an institution, then those qualities are at the highest levels at Lamont. I have attended nine such events in the last seven days, and I hope to make it a round ten after completing this report.
 
Early this week, Bärbel Hönisch wrote to suggest that I mention in my weekly report the successful defense last week of a Ph.D. thesis by one of our graduate students...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 14, 2012

For many of us, the return from the AGU Fall Meeting and the end of fall semester classes remind us that another calendar year is drawing quickly to a close, a perception that no doubt fueled the pace of a particularly full week.

On Wednesday, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced that their Sara Langer Book Prize has been awarded to Jesse Farmer. This prize, awarded on the basis of a vote among the DEES graduate students, acknowledges outstanding contributions to graduate student life in the department and at Lamont. Our congratulations go to Jesse for this recognition, as do our thanks for his efforts that led to the award...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 7, 2012

For those of us at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the week has been a whirlwind patchwork of oral and poster presentations, program planning discussions, earnest conversations, and renewed connections, in part a multi-dimensional signpost of scientific progress across the Earth and space sciences and in part the tribal ritual of an enlarging and ever broadening community.

The week was launched with a meeting of the Marcus Langseth Scientific Oversight Committee on Sunday. The business portion of the meeting included reports from.....

Lamont Weekly Report, November 30, 2012

The week before the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting is always among the most hectic of the year, and this week has been no exception.

On Tuesday, we held a reception in appreciation of Barbara Charbonnet and her many contributions to Lamont’s development programs. Under Barbara’s leadership,.....

Lamont Weekly Report, November 21, 2012

It’s been a short workweek, truncated by a welcome opportunity to give thanks for family, friends, colleagues, and professional progress over the past year.
    
It is saddening, however, that geodesist and tectonophysicist John Beavan, a long-term member of the scientific staff at Lamont, succumbed to bladder cancer this past weekend.  John rose through the ranks to senior staff the observatory......

Lamont Weekly Report, November 16, 2012

For me this has been a week spent off campus. I chaired a two-and-a-half-day meeting of the MESSENGER Science Team hosted by UCLA and held in Santa Monica, and UCLA persuaded me to stay in town for another half day to give a departmental seminar. The warm weather and views of the Pacific have been a welcome change, and I’ve been moved by the large number of our west coast colleagues who have offered sympathy and concern for those of us who weathered....

Lamont Weekly Report, November 9, 2012

By Wednesday of this week, we were no sooner back to a normal shuttle schedule and nearly full electrical service, the latter thanks in large part to the crews sent to assist our region by Georgia Light and Power, when we were welcomed by the first snow of the season. Dubbed winter storm Athena by The Weather Channel, the nor’easter delivered a coat of white to the campus and added insult to those still struggling to recover from the injuries of hurricane Sandy. Locally, our Building and Grounds crew once again rose to the challenge and put in extra hours to clear roads and pathways into the evening and the next morning...