Lamont Weekly Report, October 18, 2013
The federal government reopened yesterday, but the damage to this nation’s scientific enterprise is still being assessed. Lamont scientists prepared at least 16 proposals to the National Science Foundation for a target submission date of 15 October, but the agency has yet to announce revised schedules for submission and evaluation (https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp;jsessionid=bd4c5fc6aefbf05809736d5aa160:Dqk3?t=0&idx=0). More serious is the impact of the shutdown on this year’s scientific programs in Antarctica, with a key interval of austral spring now lost to fieldwork. Robin Bell was quoted in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times on the possible consequences (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/us/an-american-shutdown-reaches-the-earths-end.html?_r=1&), and Hugh Ducklow was interviewed for a related story Thursday in Politico (http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/shutdowns-science-fallout-could-last-for-years-98427.html).
On Monday, the European Geosciences Union announced its medalists for 2014 (http://www.egu.eu/news/79/), and I am delighted to report that Maureen Raymo will be the recipient of EGU’s Milutin Milankovic Medal. The Milankovic Medal is given to a single scientist each year in recognition of “outstanding research in long-term climatic changes and modeling.” Prior Milankovic medalists include Jim Hays and George Kukla. Mo will receive the award at the EGU General Assembly next spring in Vienna, Austria. Another EGU medalist at that meeting will be Columbia Water Center Director Upmanu Lall, who is to receive the 2014 Henry Darcy Medal.
On Tuesday, Pete Sobel and I visited the headquarters of the Brinson Foundation in Chicago to meet with Gary Brinson, the foundation’s founder; James Parsons, the foundation’s president; and Jim Barnes, a senior program officer. The Brinson Foundation has supported a number of research programs at Lamont over the past decade, and the visit gave us an opportunity to discuss the scientific findings that their grants have enabled and some of the future directions that the Observatory is pursuing.
On Thursday, I was in Washington, D.C., to participate in a Sackler Colloquium on “The National Academy of Sciences at 150: Celebrating Service to the Nation.” The colloquium featured a mix of science historians and scientists, divided into eight panels that spanned a broad range of topics on the occasion of the Academy’s sesquicentennial. I was on a panel of four invited to discuss the role of the NAS in “The IGY and Beyond: From the Earth to the Solar System.”
On Friday, Lamont was visited by ten members of the family of former Lamont scientist Lamar “Joe” Worzel (http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2357), including his four children (Sandy, Howard, Richard, and Bill) and their spouses. The family has donated a teak bench to Lamont’s Rose Garden in honor of Joe and his wife Dorothy. Several members of our scientific staff joined the Worzel family for lunch in the Worzel Room of Lamont Hall, and a ceremony in the Rose Garden followed.
Visiting Lamont for several weeks is isotope geochemist and paleoclimatologist Carys Cook. Carys obtained a Ph.D. from Imperial College London this summer (http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/earthscienceandengineering/people/phdstudents/c-f/caryscook) and is en route to a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Florida. At Lamont, she is working with Trevor Williams and Sid Hemming on the analysis of samples from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program cores from the Wilkes Land continental shelf and Prydz Bay, Antarctica.
Also now visiting Lamont and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is Prof. Tomoaki (Tomo) Morishita from Kanazawa University (http://ridb.kanazawa-u.ac.jp/public/detail_en.php?kaken=80334746). Prof. Morishita holds a two-year fellowship designed to provide young and mid-career scientists with experience in research outside Japan. His local host is Peter Kelemen.
A new banner photo on Lamont’s home web page announces a story and video by Rebecca Fowler posted late last week on the work of Andy Juhl and Craig Aumack on the characteristics of algae within and beneath Arctic sea ice (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/arctic%E2%80%99s-secret-garden). Also included are under-ice videos of the algae at several stages of boreal spring taken by a camera on a small remotely operated vehicle (constructed with funds from the Brinson Foundation).
Lamont scientists have been in the news on topics other than the government shutdown and its aftermath. A story in Atlantic on Wednesday wove the paleoclimate reconstruction for the Horn of Africa developed by Peter deMenocal and Lamont alumna Jessica Tierney together with the shutdown for more than a decade of oceanographic work in the area because of Somali pirates (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/how-somali-pirates-almost-but-not-quite-halted-vital-climate-change-research/280621/); in a paper published online by Science last week, Jessica and Peter showed from isotopic measurements of carbon and hydrogen in marine sediments that desertification of the region 5000 years ago occurred rapidly, in as little as 100–200 years. WAMC Northeast Public Radio featured Conny Class on its “Academic Minute” segment on Wednesday on the topic of carbonatites in continental rifts as a source for rare earth elements (http://wamc.org/post/dr-cornelia-class-columbia-university-rare-earth-elements-and-cell-phones). A story yesterday on Nyack News & Views on the history of Piermont’s salt marsh (http://www.nyacknewsandviews.com/2013/10/piermonts-historic-salt-marsh/) includes an advertisement for “talks by two Lamont scientists” at a meeting of the Piermont Marsh Conservancy on Saturday; the two speakers will be Bob Newton and Dorothy Peteet (http://www.piermontmarsh.org/calendar).
This afternoon, in the Monell Auditorium, we will hold a ceremony to recognize all of our Lamont Campus colleagues, from students to senior investigators, who have received awards for their work in research and education over the past year. Those recognized include the following:
| I hope that many of you will be able join the ceremony this afternoon, and the reception that will follow, to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues.
I hope that many of you will be able join the ceremony this afternoon, and the reception that will follow, to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues.