The Lamont family was saddened recently by the news that former staff member Adele Hanley passed away on August 1. Mother of Lamont’s Jean Hanley, Adele worked as a Staff Associate in the Geochemistry Division for 32 years, from 1969 until her retirement in 2001. While at Lamont, she provided analytical support for a broad range of studies of marine sediments and ice cores, and she participated in several oceanographic cruises. Steve Goldstein wrote, “All of us who were here before 2001 remember [Adele’s] friendly manner and smile.” A memorial service is planned for the afternoon of September 2 at the Prince of Peace Church at 106 Orangeburgh Road in Old Tappan, New Jersey.
Back on campus, Lamont’s web site gained three new research stories this past week. An Adrienne Kenyon story Friday featured the ivory forensic work of Kevin Uno and his collaborators (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/fighting-ivory-trafficking-forensic-science). Kevin uses accelerator mass spectrometry to date the time that an elephant was killed to harvest its tusks, and his work informs efforts by state, national, and international organizations to curtail the actions of poachers and traffickers in illegal ivory.
On Monday, the Center for Climate and Life completed a video on the impact of climate change on shelter (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/how-will-climate-change-impact-shelter). The video – produced by Francesco Fiondella and Rebecca Fowler along with motion graphic designer Duane Dobbels – features interviews with Robin Bell, Radley Horton, and Adam Sobel.
On Wednesday, a Kevin Krajick story was posted on the work of Joaquim Goes and Beizhan Yan to characterize pollutants and particularly plastic microbeads in the waters and sediments around New York City (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/new-york%E2%80%99s-waterways-are-swimming-plastic-microbeads). Plastic microbeads, less than 5 micrometers in diameter and in common use in toothpaste, shampoo, and cosmetic products, pose environmental hazards for freshwater and marine species. The work of Joaquim and Beizhan, currently at an exploratory stage, is being conducted in partnership with Riverkeeper and with the engagement of local high school students and their science teacher.
Yesterday, the Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget issued a four-page memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies on the administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget priorities in the area of research and development (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/trump-offers-his-first-list-science-priorities-and-it-s-america-first). The memo lists five “priority areas”– American military superiority, American security, American prosperity, American energy dominance, and American health – that “should receive special focus in agency budget requests,” within the constraint that R&D investments should “best serve the American people” and be “budget neutral.” The memo is an early step in a long process that involves submission of agency budgets to OMB next month, iteration on those budgets through the fall, submission of the President’s budget to Congress next winter, and one or more final appropriations bills passed by Congress more than a year from now. Given the length of this process and the rate at which relations between the White House and Congress change in tenor and trust, the final budgets are likely to differ substantially from those that might be inferred from yesterday’s memo.
Today, the high school interns in the Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP) (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/SSFRP) will be giving presentations on their summer research experiences. Oral presentations will be given in the Monell Auditorium from 10:45 am to 12:30 pm, and a poster session will follow from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the Comer Building Atrium. Bob Newton, SSFRP Program Director, has invited everyone on campus to attend either or both of the sessions.
The scientific highlight of next week will be the solar eclipse on Monday afternoon (EDT) (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/science/eclipse-chasers-first.html), visible at least in part across all of the continental United States. I’ll be in South Carolina, in the path of totality and hoping for clear skies. I hope that all of you experience the event in some form. It’s not every day that you can be followed by a moonshadow.