Office of the Director

Message from the Director

Earth is not a static planet. From earthquakes to extreme weather, and from ocean circulation to melting ice sheets, ours is a planet in constant flux.

In like manner, research at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is in a state of continual renewal. Here, hundreds of scientists are discovering and communicating new and fundamental insights about the origin and evolution of Earth and its complex and interconnected physical, chemical, and biological systems.
Our scientists gather data on every continent and every ocean. They pull cores of sediment from the seafloor, sample rock outcrops and ancient tree rings, acquire precise data from pole to pole with airborne and satellite instruments, and measure the tremors from distant earthquakes. From these data they distill fresh understanding in fields as diverse as biogeochemistry, seismology, climate physics, and oceanography.
Exceptional research demands the most advanced tools and facilities available. Our growing campus houses academia’s largest sediment core repository and its largest and most sophisticated ultra-clean laboratory for geochemistry—facilities that accelerate and refine scientific discovery and attract talent from around the world. The research vessel Marcus G. Langseth, with its unique capabilities for imaging the sea floor and the structure of the oceanic crust and mantle,continues the Observatory’s long tradition of seagoing exploration with expeditions throughout the global ocean.
The constant generation of new knowledge gives our Palisades, New York, campus its distinctive culture of intellectual ferment and collaborative creativity. Our distinguished senior scientists in the country’s top-ranked graduate program in Earth and environmental science are committed to mentoring the next generation of leaders in the field.
As the human population reaches 7 billion, the criticality of Earth science has never been greater. As the largest research unit of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty is uniquely positioned to transform science into solutions. Through collaborations with engineers, public health specialists, journalists, and policy makers, our scientists mobilize their research for the stewardship of our planet. 
I hope that as you browse this website you will learn more about our mission and our recent progress. I thank you for your interest in our institution and its leading programs in research and education on the workings of our world. The pace of discovery is quickening, and all of us at the Observatory look forward to sharing those discoveries with you.
Sean C. Solomon