Notwithstanding that my first four weeks have seemed as if at light speed, I am gradually feeling that more of the faces on campus are recognizable as colleagues. That said, there are always new arrivals.
On Tuesday, Sonya Dyhrman formally accepted the offer from Columbia University of a tenured associate professorship in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Trained as a marine biologist, Sonya currently heads a laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution devoted to the study of phytoplankton ecology and associated biogeochemical cycles. Her research combines physiological, chemical, and genomic approaches with a strong field program. Sonya will be moving to the Lamont campus this winter once her laboratories are ready for their new occupants.
On the administrative side of the campus, Denyse Brown joined Lamont this week as Asset Manager. Denyse held a similar position for six years at Pfizer in Pearl River. Among her other responsibilities, Denyse will be assisting investigators with the identification and licensing of export-controlled equipment and with the insuring of shipments for field operations.
On Wednesday, Lamont hosted a visit by a delegation from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology led by JAMSTEC President Asahiko Taira. The visitors described recent progress at JAMSTEC in ocean drilling, oceanographic technology development, and high-resolution calculations with their Earth Simulator supercomputer. Presentations on Lamont programs of potential interest to JAMSTEC staff were made by Taro Takahashi, Arnold Gordon, Dave Goldberg, Jim Gaherty, Spahr Webb, Nano Seeber, and Heather Savage. The discussions may lead to an expansion of scientific topics covered by an operative memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.
Yesterday I represented Columbia and Lamont at a roundtable discussion on the future direction of NOAA research held at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. One of a series over the last several years, the roundtable was led by Bob Detrick, Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. A broad-ranging discussion among about a dozen representatives from universities, non-profit research organizations, and the private sector addressed R&D activities most central to NOAA’s mission, research areas poised for major advances, NOAA services that should be enhanced, and strategic partnerships that NOAA should investigate. NOAA has two strategic planning efforts in progress that will strongly influence their research portfolio. A Portfolio Review Task Force, under the auspices of NOAA’s Science Advisory Board, has been asked to evaluate the scope and management of NOAA research programs. In parallel, the NOAA Research Council, chaired by Detrick, is developing a 5-year research plan. Both efforts should be completed by mid-2013.
In the news, Tim Creyts was featured at the end of last week in an interview on Free Speech Radio News (http://fsrn.org/newscast) on the occasion of the calving of a piece of Greenland’s Peterman Glacier twice the area of Manhattan. Given the week’s weather in New York, the arrival of an iceberg of that size might have been welcome.