Lamont Weekly Report, May 13, 2011

Mark's diaries:

We received a lovely letter from Lillian Langseth about a month ago letting us know that she had Mark's diaries and wanted to donate them to Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  From Lillian's letter:

"Marcus had a life long habit of writing down many things about his daily activities, some somewhat personal but mostly about his thoughts and ideas of the day. A large portion of these writings were in hard cover school notebooks. The collection relative to Lamont started in 1953 when he first came to Lamont as a summer intern working for Jack Oliver."

Lillian was able to find the diaries with the help of Roseanne Weissel.
She continues:

"I have discussed the value and disposition of these diaries with Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman - two of Mark's closest friends and colleagues. After much discussion the consensus was that these diaries belong in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University. Since they date back to the 50's and were written on inexpensive paper and stored without special conditions, many are already fragile and delicate and need the kind of care that only an archival library can render."

Michael Ryan, the Manuscript Library's Director, has expressed enthusiasm for the diaries and their preservation for scholarly work. What a treasure trove this will be! And what a great way to get a bit of our history into one of the nation's best manuscript preservation facilities. The Lamont Executive Committee passed a proclamation of support, and we will undoubtedly celebrate the handover in appropriate fashion. Many thanks to Roseanne, Bill and Walter for putting this

Academic Affairs and Diversity:

Kuheli Dutt and I met with Andy Davidson, the Vice Provost for Academic Planning, earlier this week in Low. According to Andy, the work Kuheli has been doing over the last several years could be used as the exemplar for the next stage of diversity initiatives for the whole University. Provost Steele inaugurated the discussion at the last dean's council meeting, and Low Library is taking a leadership role in the implementation of a new set of school-based programs aimed at persistent diversity issues. The Provost has asked each school or unit to submit a draft set of goals and a three-year implementation plan by the end of August. Kuheli will be setting up a small task force to do this, and we will have some serious campus-wide discussions as this whole effort moves forward. Stay tuned.

Lamont Post-Doc Fellows:

The selection of this year's class of Lamont Post-Doctoral Fellows is now complete. The new Fellows and their proposed topics and mentors are:

David Ferguson: Glacial versus subduction controls on arc volcanism

Margaret Hurwitz: The impact of warm pool El Nino events on Antarctic climate and ozone (Polvani)

Christine McCarthy: Experimental and theoretical study of internal friction and shear friction in polycrystalline ice (Savage)

Aaron Putnam: The sensitivity of Asian glaciers and hydrology to climate change (Broecker)

Beth Stauffer: Effects of predicted ocean acidification on the growth and physiology of red-tide dinoflagellates (Goes)

Yakov Weiss: He and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic signature in diamond-forming fluids; The high-3He/4He source of OIBs? A window into deep mantle processes (Goldstein)

Thanks to those of you who participated in reviewing the applications, and especially to the Post-Doc Selection Committee for coming up with an outstanding short list. We were able to expand this year's class by
generating an exceptional amount of matching funds from the sponsors.

(I thought dinoflagellates were what the Flintstones used to housebreak their pet sauropod.)

R/V Langseth:

Mark's ship successfully completed its first science cruise of the year, Nathan Bangs' CRISP 3D survey off Costa Rica.  By all accounts, the on-board science party is happy with the outcomes. Sean Higgins and his team have been front and center in the arduous work of getting the Langseth prepared for what is turning out to be a heavy science schedule. The work continues as the ship heads north for the next few legs off Alaska.

Budget Matters:

It has been a wrenching few weeks as we have had to readjust the programs at the IRI to some of the realities of the current year and FY12 NOAA science budgets. I'm sure that many of you realize that the deficit reduction fever in Washington is driving hard questions and harder decisions within all the federal science agencies. NSF is doing
about as well as can be expected in the discussions, although individual programs, including IODP, are being reviewed under restrained budget scenarios. None of us in management positions - at Lamont, in the Earth Institute, or in Low Library - are unaware of these issues, nor are we insensitive to the real uncertainties affecting individuals. I continue to believe, not naively, that the importance of our work and the excellence of the scientists and staff producing it will ultimately provide the basis for continued national investment in basic research in the earth sciences. Lamont is in a strong position both intellectually and financially, and short-term stresses can and will be managed. As we move into the next fiscal year and prepare the Observatory for the next director, these concerns will be our highest priority. This is not idle rhetoric.

..and finally

One of my son's flight students gave him a set of Yankee tickets, so I'm off to the stadium for tonight's game against the Red Sox.

Kids: the gift that keeps on giving.