Lamont Weekly Report, June 21, 2013

     The summer solstice was reached early today, and we begin the new season even as the daily duration of sunlight begins slowly to dwindle.

     The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced that Meredith Nettles has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and Terry Plank has been named an Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their new positions.

     I spent most of this week at a MESSENGER Science Team meeting held from Tuesday to Thursday at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In between discussions of new results from Mercury were an evening trip to an Indians ballgame at Progressive Field and a team dinner on the grounds of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, together a good introduction to Ohio’s largest city.

     On Wednesday, Art Lerner-Lam left for Hong Kong for a meeting today of the local chapter of the Columbia Alumni Association ( Also participating in the meeting were James Valentini, Dean of Columbia College, and Joan Kaufman, Director of Columbia's Global Center in Beijing. Art and Joan will also meet with Alex Zhang, a Columbia alumnus and a member of the Beijing center's advisory board, to discuss Lamont's participation in the Antarctic Forum, a new organization that is advising Chinese leadership on environmental issues in the southern oceans and the Antarctic.

     Lamont’s Development Office has asked me to forward a request for photographs of your work in the field or the laboratory. New photos of research and educational activities at Lamont are continually needed as illustrations for newsletters, reports, and other mailings. You have yet another opportunity for your 15 seconds of fame.

     In the news this week, Richard Seager was quoted in an article in The Huffington Post Monday regarding the possibility that future droughts in the southwestern United States may rival the Dust Bowl of the 1930s ( A story posted Tuesday on Live Science summarizes a Science Express article by Stan Jacobs and colleagues on the rates of mass loss of Antarctic ice shelves (; the group found that basal melting of the ice shelves from the warming ocean dominates the mass loss.

     A highlight of next week will be the 9th Excellence in Mentoring Award Ceremony on Friday afternoon in the Monell Auditorium. The award recognizes the importance of thoughtful mentoring of our students and young scientists. A list of past recipients can be found at The nominees for this year’s award include Bob Anderson, Louise Bolge, Merry Cai, Jean Hanley, Bärbel Hönisch, and Susanne Straub. The winner will be announced at the ceremony, and a reception will follow the event.

     In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the first weekend of the summer.