Lamont Weekly Report, February 21, 2020

    The U.S. Presidential race continued to provide a backdrop to our scientific activities this week, as the Democratic candidate debate on Wednesday evening provided the longest exchange so far in the campaign on the need for major action on climate change. This issue, however, remains a deeply partisan one in this country.

    From Monday through yesterday, Lamont hosted a workshop for the International Ocean Discovery Program on the topic of "Demystifying the IODP Proposal Process for Early Career Scientists." Sponsored by the U.S. Science Support Program for IODP, the workshop was organized by Angela Slagle and a team of early-career researchers. Angela wrote, “The goals of the workshop were to educate early-career scientists about the IODP structure and proposal process, with the primary activity the development of a set of scientific drilling proposals to be reviewed by an expert panel at the conclusion of the workshop. Among the 50 participants were Lamont [early-career] scientists Lloyd Anderson, Brian Boston, Jacqueline Goordial, Helen Habicht, Benjamin Keisling, Celeste Pallone, and Kelvin Tian. Expert guidance [was also provided by] Lamont scientists Sidney Hemming, Susanne Straub, Maureen Raymo, Andrew Goodwillie, and Lamont alumni Cecilia McHugh and Jim Wright.”

    On Wednesday, the MacArthur Foundation announced the top 100 proposals submitted to the latest round of the 100&Change competition, from which one proposal will eventually be selected for a $100 million award “to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges”. Lamont scientists play critical roles for two of the top 100 projects. Lex van Geen is leading a proposal on ending toxic arsenic poisoning from well waters in Bangladesh, and Dave Goldberg conceived the idea behind a second proposal on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide by mineralization in offshore oceanic crust. A Marie Aronsohn story on Dave’s work in this area was also posted to our web site on Wednesday.

    Yesterday, Maureen Raymo gave the second in this year’s inaugural series of Lamont Public Lectures. Mo spoke on “Climate, carbon dioxide, and sea level: Past is prologue” to an audience of nearly 200 of Lamont’s friends and neighbors that included Lamont Advisory Board members Walter Brown and Frank Gumper.

    Julia Tejada recently published an invited article in Spiral Magazine, published by the Rubin Museum of Art. Julia wrote, “This year's issue is on the topic of Impermanence, and they wanted the perspective of a paleontologist on the topic. (Nothing is more impermanent than a species, given sufficient time!) They also invited people from other fields (e.g., dramaturgs, filmmakers, plastic artists, physicists) to write on the topic under their own lenses.”

    Lamont scientists in the news this past week included Peter de Menocal, whose comments on climate change as a possible trigger of rapid evolution among human ancestors appeared in a Daily Galaxy story on Sunday, along with a YouTube video of a talk he gave on the subject at a recent Aspen Ideas Festival. A web story by freelance writer Renee Cho on increases in plastic production and plastic pollution mentions the work of Joaquim Goes and Marco Tedesco on microplastics in the ocean and in snow, respectively.

    Next Wednesday, Lamont will celebrate Black History Month with a reception in the Monell Lower Lobby. Kailani Acosta, Elise Myers, and Arianna Varuolo-Clarke are organizers for the event.

    In the meantime, this afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by geologist Jason Briner, a Professor in the Department of Geology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Jason’s seminar title asserts that “Greenland ice sheet mass loss will exceed Holocene values this century.” May the audience mass for this topic exceed typical Anthropocene values in response.