Lamont Weekly Report, December 2, 2011

A pre-AGU week of almost daily highlights:

Monday: Mia Leo's retirement celebration was a wonderful testament to all she has done for our students, not to mention all she has done for DEES and Lamont. Among the standouts: the ecclesiastically subtle hymn to her; the doo-wop performance by the Chairs, complete with funky variable time signature; the Folksmen-style hootenanny, enhanced by a
QMDA-flavored percussion section; and, of course, "Mamma Mia," which improved on the original lyrics of possibly the most overrated bubblegum pop band on the planet.

Of said lyrics and other poetic efforts: Jean Leote is hereby designated the Lamont Poet Laureate.

Tuesday: The meeting of our Advisory Board celebrated the enormous and lasting contributions of Quentin Kennedy, who has stepped down as Chair (but will continue on the Board as Past Chair). Frank Gumper, previously Vice Chair, becomes Chair. We heard from Einat Lev, who spoke about her lava flow imaging experiments, which were made possible by a grant from the Board Innovation Fund that Quentin founded.  Einat has been able to leverage that seed grant into an NSF-funded project. In honor of Quentin's generosity and support, the Columbia Board of Trustees
approved naming the Comer videoconference room the Quentin Kennedy Board Room. Quentin: it has been and will continue to be a privilege working with you.

Wednesday: Because of all the meetings and partying on Tuesday, the celebration of Wally's 80th birthday was shifted by a day. We had another big turnout in Comer, and yet another reason to honor Wally. To top it off, Wally will be giving the colloquium on Friday. What a great birthday present.

Thursday: I flew to San Francisco. Not a highlight.

Friday: Preparing for an important visit with friends of Lamont to talk about our initiatives in biogeoscience. Several of us will be at a cocktail party this evening in a house located about 2.5 km from the segment of the San Andreas that ruptured in 1906. Hopefully a highlight.

By the way, among all the other AGU activities, don't forget the Lamont Alumni Meeting (5:30) and Annual Reception (6:30-8:30) Tuesday at the Marriott Union Square, 480 Sutter, 30th floor. Remember: the food is usually gone by 6:35.

Looking a bit further ahead, we are going to have a Lamont-wide Holiday Party this year. It will be in Monell, and downscaled foodwise from what we used to offer at IBM-Palisades. With apologies, I am trying to hold down some expenditures this year. But the atmosphere will be no less festive.

Finally, to our Poet Laureate: What rhymes with "orange"? Is that why there are no good poems about citrus?