Lamont Weekly Report, March 14, 2014
For a second week in the last three, our campus grieves over the loss of a long-time friend and respected colleague, after Gerry Iturrino suffered a fatal heart attack on Tuesday night. A fixture in the Borehole Research Group, Gerry had worked at the Observatory for 18 years. Our condolences go out to Gerry’s family, even as we remember with fondness his time in the extended family that is Lamont.
And notwithstanding our collective sense of sudden loss, we continue the pursuit that binds us together, the search for a deeper understanding of our planet.
On Monday, Adam Sobel organized a meeting to introduce visitors David Bachiochi and Dail Rowe from WeatherPredict Consulting, a subsidiary of Renaissance Reinsurance, to the Extreme Weather and Climate initiative of Lamont and Columbia. Participants included Michela Biasutti, Suzana Camargo, Yochanan Kushnir, Richard Seager, Pete Sobel, Mingfang Ting, and me, as well as John Allen and Chia-Ying Lee from IRI, Jose Blanchett from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Timothy Hall from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), Manu Lall from the Columbia Water Center, Shuguang Wang from the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM), and Michael Tippett from APAM and IRI.
As if through a tremor in space–time, two groups of seismologists converged on Lamont for overlapping meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) Standing Committee of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) met under the gavel of chair Meredith Nettles. And the Ocean Bottom Seismograph Instrument Pool (OBSIP) Oversight Committee, also under the aegis of IRIS, was convened by chair Don Forsyth of Brown University.
Tuesday for me was a day spent on the Morningside campus. Mike Purdy hosted another in a series of meetings on strengthening the partnership between Columbia University and GISS. NASA participants included Colleen Hartman, Deputy Director for Science, Operations and Program Performance at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Gavin Schmidt from GISS; and Piers Sellers, Deputy Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate at GSFC. I joined Peter Schlosser, Adrian Hill from Mike’s office, Dean of Science Amber Miller, and Associate Dean of Science and Planning David Zielinski as additional representatives of Columbia.
Lamont’s Advisory Board met at the Observatory on Wednesday afternoon. After a tour of the video wall in Lamont’s Core Repository, purchased with a grant from the Board Innovation Fund, Board members held their first meetings of the five new Board committees, on Membership, Marketing, Risk, Education, and Development. The full Board heard a presentation by Adam Sobel on Lamont’s Extreme Weather and Climate initiative, and the meeting was followed by a Director’s Circle lecture by Richard Seager on “Droughts in a changing climate: A tale of three current droughts.”
On Thursday, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced the good news that Alison Hartman has been awarded a Fulbright grant, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship from the Inter-university Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, Israel. Alison will work with former Lamont Assistant Research Professor Adi Torfstein, who holds positions at both the Inter-university Institute and the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University.