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Lamont Weekly Report – May 11, 2007

P.O. Box 1000, 61 Route 9W Palisades, New York 10964


- Letter from the Director



I was back in the office on Tuesday after a weekend trip to Lincoln
in England to participate in my niece's wedding. Having had a
longstanding interest in Roman history it was a great place to be for
a couple of days, as it was a substantial military center during the
Roman occupation a fifteen hundred years (and more) ago. One of the
main roads into Lincoln (The Ermine Way) remains upon the same road
bed constructed by the Roman legions - absolutely dead straight two
lane road for many tens of miles - when those legions started
marching they did not like to go round corners. The primary
disappointment was the fact that Lincoln holds one of the four
original copies of the Magna Carta (1215AD I think) - but when I went
to see it I found that it was on tour in the US - making money to
renovate the castle.

I am very pleased to announce that Roger Buck has accepted my
invitation to become the next Associate Director for Marine Geology
and Geophysics effective upon Jeff Weissel's retirement July 1st. I
am extremely pleased with this appointment and look forward to
working with Roger over the next several years to develop MG&G
research at the Observatory.

I am also pleased to announce that Jason Smerdon has been selected as
this year's recipient of the Storke-Doherty Lectureship. Jason is
due many congratulations - especially because the quality of this
year's applicant pool was spectacular - if resources had allowed we
could have justified several awards. Many thanks to Bill Smethie and
his committee for helping Mark Cane and I make this very difficult

Thursday morning I was down in the City to announce to the press
(including the New York Times, Scientific American, and Christian
Science Monitor) that we have recently signed a letter of intent to
become science advisers to a premiere internet site for kids --
called KidsCom. (To quote the company literature, is a
fun place where kids meet online to Play Smart, Stay Safe, Have
Fun) KidsCom is developing a new game based upon climate change and
we hope to insure that the science included in this game is accurate
and appropriate. Our goal is to improve the level of understanding of
climate change for future generations - the future generations that
are going to face difficult challenges because of the inaction by the
present generation. As an important side benefit I hope to get some
good visibility for Lamont as a world leading center for climate
change research. I encourage all (especially those with kids age
8-12) to check out the site: The climate change game
will be launched July 5th or thereabouts. Doug Brusa in the
development office is managing this project and he will be asking
several folks around the Observatory for help with the science issues
over the next couple of years as the game is launched and developed.

The Earth Institute Town Meeting earlier this week was well
attended - thanks to Steve Cohen, Peter Schlosser and especially Jeff
Sachs for coming out here and giving us all an update of EI issues. A
good discussion followed the presentations - it seems that despite
all best efforts I have not escaped the "bus" issue.

The week ended with a great Jardetsky lecture by UC Berkeley
Professor and National Academy member Inez Fung. As I mentioned in my
introduction, thanks to the hard work of Lamont's Development Office
we have received an additional gift from Oleg Jardertsky that
increases the endowment that supports this event to a level that will
allow us to guarantee an excellent lecture on an annual basis.

And welcome home to Robin Bell - back safely from sailing a very
small boat across a very big ocean (i.e. the Atlantic). Congratulations

Have a great weekend,

- Mike


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