Lamont Weekly Report, March 11, 2011

We received word yesterday from the Advisory Committee on Undersea Features that the US Board on Geographic Names has "approved the name 'Diebold Knoll' for the undersea feature at 43 deg 53 min N, 126 deg 10 min W," off the coast of central Oregon. Our colleagues Sandy Shor and Anne Trehu, as well as several folks here at Lamont, helped guide the naming request through the appropriate committees. This is a fitting memorial to John, and it will be a reminder to future generations of oceanographers of the inestimable contributions made by one of our own. We miss him, still, and we will miss him always.

John would have loved this: Sean Higgins, our Marine Office, and the crew of the Langseth passed a significant milestone this week, as the Langseth made it through its latest and most important series of inspections and is now ready to return to science operations, on schedule. Helene Carton was the chief scientist during the inspection leg, and also played a crucial role. Congratulations to all involved.

The Lamont Advisory Board met in Comer Wednesday afternoon. Lex van Geen, Pratigya Polissar and Jess Tierney gave fantastic overviews of their research, with Lex talking about Arsenic, Pratigya speaking about biomarker proxies for Himalayan uplift, and Jess speaking about very old butter (ask her sometime). Pratigya and Jess - along with many other
colleagues - are part of our initiative to build a Center for Biogeochemistry. Laboratories for the center will be part of the
renovated New Core Lab. Construction on the second floor should start by this September, with completion scheduled for Fall 2012.

Wednesday night, the Board threw a farewell dinner for Mike Purdy. Barbara Charbonnet and her crew transformed the Comer seminar room into a respectable party space (complete with potted trees!). Mike and our development office have built a distinguished Board that will continue to be a constructive and supporting partner as we build new initiatives
such as biogeochemistry. And our board members certainly know how to
toast! (And toast, and toast, and toast...

As I write this, the casualties from the Japan earthquake are mounting, the tsunami is still heading for Chile, and the world's attention is once again focused on another disaster. This event is unusual in some respects: we'll know more once the analysis is done. But I'm reminded, yet again, that while knowledge is power, the Earth will always be able to humble even its most savvy inhabitants.