News

01/31/06

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Gifts to Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Establish Fund for
Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research
Combined $1.1 million from Jerome M. Paros and the Palisades Geophysical Institute will
support development of a new generation of engineers and instrumentation

Scientists measure conductivity, temperature, depth and dissolved oxygen beneath the Arctic ice
Bob Williams (left) from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Richard Perry (right) from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Instrument Lab deploy a compact water sampling instrument recently developed at the Lamont Instrument Lab through the Arctic sea ice. Water samples taken with this tool will help improve understanding of ocean circulation in the Arctic. The development of instruments such as this, with advanced capabilities to study the Earth, will be supported by the Jerome M. Paros-Palisades Geophysical Institute Fund for Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research.
Photo by Dale Chayes, LDEO

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory today announced the formation of the Jerome M. Paros-Palisades Geophysical Institute Fund for Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research. The fund, which was made possible by a $550,000 gift from Jerome M. Paros matching an earlier gift from the Palisades Geophysical Institute, will support the development of new technologies and the application of existing technologies to aid Lamont-Doherty researchers in their studies of the Earth.

"The cutting-edge geoscience research for which Lamont-Doherty is known relies on continuous technological advance," said G. Michael Purdy, Director of the Observatory. "Jerry Paros and the Palisades Geophysical Institute have both been leaders in the field of instrumentation and clearly understand the need to build a solid foundation for a new generation of first-class engineers and unsurpassed instrumentation at Lamont."

Jerome M. Paros is a leader in the field of measurement sciences. He holds more than 20 patents and has authored many articles in the instrumentation field. Jerry is the founder of Paroscientific, Inc. and related companies that manufacture sensors based on the quartz crystal resonator technology he developed to measure pressure, acceleration, temperature, weight and other parameters. High-accuracy, broadband quartz pressure transducers are crucial to many atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic applications because they permit the measurement of phenomena having great spatial and temporal variability. Advances in data acquisition, communications and computational analysis enable the integration of broadband sensors into powerful, multi-functional networks. These sensor networks will improve the measurements of geophysical phenomena such as tsunamis and enhance our ability to understand the complex earth and ocean processes that produce climate change.

"By making this gift, I hope to expand application of existing sensor technologies to the first-order research questions throughout the geosciences," said Paros. "This will make us better able to address many of the critical environmental issues facing society."

The non-profit Palisades Geophysical Institute (PGI) was formed in 1970 by a group of scientists at Lamont-Doherty to support classified work for the U.S. Navy studying the acoustic properties of the ocean. Advances by PGI have enabled the Navy to improve its ability to locate submarines and pinpoint the location of missiles when they enter the water. PGI was dissolved in 2003 and the current gift was made from the institute's residual funds.

Lamont-Doherty also has a long history of technological advances to support scientific research. For more than 50 years, its scientists and engineers have helped develop many of the instruments that underpin our modern understanding of the Earth's structure and evolution. These include new sonars and other methods that permit precision mapping of the ocean floor, revolutions in seismometers that measure the tectonic forces reshaping the planet, improvements to radiometric dating techniques, and new equipment that collects samples of the ocean floor containing clues to the Earth's past climate.

Jerome M. Paros-Palisades Geophysical Institute Fund for Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research will initially provide salary support for a new engineer at Lamont-Doherty as well as seed funds for the development of new technologies to leverage additional grant support and encourage innovation and multi-disciplinary research.

"We believe that innovation comes from ideas and the best ideas come from people working together," said Purdy. "Building real, effective partnerships between engineers and scientists will be the key to our continued success and the growth of knowledge about our planet."


The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a member of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, is one of the world's leading research centers examining the planet from its core to its atmosphere, across every continent and every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide the basic knowledge of Earth systems needed to inform the future health and habitability of our planet.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is among the world's leading academic centers for the integrated study of Earth, its environment, and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through its research training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor.

For more information, visit www.ldeo.columbia.edu