Lamont Weekly Report, April 20, 2018

     This week has led up to Earth Day 2018 this Sunday ( In recognition of Earth Day, the campus hosted a Charity Yoga Class on Tuesday – with donations collected for the NYC Fresh Air Fund – and Bike-to-Work events from Manhattan and from Nyack and Piermont this morning. All who joined one of the Bike-to-Work groups were treated to a free breakfast in the Lamont Café. Please join me in thanking Andrew Goodwillie and his co-organizers of Earth Day events as well as the staff of the Lamont Café for their participation.

    I’ve spent the week before Earth Day on vacation in South Carolina with my three youngest grandsons, on spring break from their schools in Massachusetts. We’re by a beach, where I can contemplate the cumulative impact of Atlantic hurricanes and rising sea level on the local waterfront over the timespan of two generations. Such contemplations account for the shorter report than normal this week.

    Last Saturday, several from Lamont participated in the 2018 Science and Engineering Expo at The School at Columbia University ( Brad Linsley gave a presentation on “How can corals be used to study climate?,” and Colton Conroy, Einat Lev, and undergraduates Rya Inman and Bobby Moon gave a demonstration on “How can a village be protected from volcanic eruptions and lava flows?”

    On Wednesday this week, NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ( TESS is scheduled to conduct a full-sky survey of  nearby stars for signatures of transits by orbiting planets, with an emphasis on Earth-like worlds ( One day later, the Senate finally confirmed President Trump’s nominee for NASA Administrator (

    This week, Lamont was one of more than 60 institutions that collectively submitted testimony ( in support of a healthy geoscience research program at the National Science Foundation to the Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The testimony was prepared, and sponsors were recruited, by Joel Widder and Meg Thompson at Federal Science Partners.

    Yesterday afternoon, the Earth Institute; the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; the Sustainable Development Program; and the Department of Environmental Science at Barnard jointly sponsored the 2018 Senior Thesis Poster Session. A total of 44 students gave mini-presentations and posters ( in the Event Oval in The Diana Center, and a reception followed.

    On Wednesday next week, Radley Horton will be speaking at the Chappaqua Library “On climate change and the potential for surprises: What we do and why.” His presentation will focus on extreme weather events, limitations of current climate models, and climate change adaptation ( Marie Aronsohn, John Halpin, Ashley Sheed, and Stacey Vassallo will join him at the event.

    In the meantime, this afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by one of our own, Arthur D. Storke Professor Peter Kelemen. Peter will be speaking on “Carbon mineralization in peridotite: Natural processes, global fluxes, the origin of life & closing the carbon cycle” (;jsessionid=A7F59055E58C218F587653B1BC309B41). May the flux of Lamont’s students and staff to fill Peter’s audience be natural and global in scope yet not so reactive as to close off the carbon (or oxygen) cycle within Monell.