Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, November 8, 2019

    A noteworthy solar system event will occur next Monday: a solar transit by Mercury. Although Mercury’s close approaches to Earth, known as inferior conjunctions, occur often (approximately once every 116 days), Mercury passes across the disc of the Sun as viewed from Earth much more rarely, because of the 7° inclination of Mercury’s orbit to the ecliptic, Earth’s orbital plane. The transit on Monday will be the fourth of only 14 Mercury transits this century.

Lamont Weekly Report, November 1, 2019

    This week kicked off on Saturday with the final day of the special symposium to celebrate the life and scientific legacy of Wally Broecker. The symposium provided a wonderful two days to remember an extraordinarily impactful colleague, with the formal talks, open-microphone sessions, group dinner, and informal discussions over coffee and lunch all contributing to a heightened awareness on the part of all participants of the unprecedented influence that Wally had on all who worked or interacted with him.

Lamont Weekly Report, October 25, 2019

    I am saddened to report that physical oceanographer and former Lamont staff member Eli Katz passed away on Thursday last week, at the age of 83. Eli worked at Lamont from 1979 to 1997, initially as a Senior Research Associate and after 1983 as a Senior Research Scientist. He received a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1962, and he worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for 10 years before moving to Lamont.

Lamont Weekly Report, October 18, 2019

    Yesterday marked the 30-year anniversary of the Loma Prieta, California, earthquake, a magnitude-6.9 event well known not only to seismologists – because of its unusual source characteristics, widespread damage, and 63 fatalities – but also to major league baseball fans, because it resulted in the postponement of the third and fourth games in the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics (https://www.mor-tv.com/artic

Lamont Weekly Report, October 11, 2019

    This week began with Lamont Open House. The total attendance was 3627, a figure higher than last year or two years before that, but lower than the all-time record of 3891 set in 2017. The official head count was certified by Howie Matza, who logged 350 individuals arriving by automobile to the campus, 658 attendees delivered by bus from the city, 2592 riders on the shuttles from the HNA parking lot, and 27 who came on other buses.

Lamont Weekly Report, August 30, 2019

    The last week before Labor Day and the start of fall classes is a traditional week for vacations at Columbia – indeed the entire university administration is rumored to be away – and I have followed this tradition. Nonetheless, the pace of science is not slowed markedly by the summer getaways of scientists (or administrators), as the following news attests.

Lamont Weekly Report, August 16, 2019

    Yesterday, the American Geophysical Union announced the good news that Rosanne D’Arrigo and Lorenzo Polvani have been named 2019 AGU Fellows (https://eos.org/agu-news/2019-class-of-agu-fellows-announced). In Robin Bell’s Eos article introducing the 2019 class of Fellows, she wrote, “AGU Fellows are recognized for their scientific eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Their breadth of interests and the scope of their contributions are remarkable and often groundbreaking.

Lamont Weekly Report, August 9, 2019

    This week began for me in Woods Hole, where I attended a meeting of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. As the governing body of the academy, the Council is responsible for stewarding NAS finances and other assets, guiding policies on membership, developing academy positions on scientific issues, and overseeing NAS programs. The Council is also currently completing the first NAS strategic plan and developing procedures for responding to any alleged violations of the academy’s newly adopted Code of Conduct.

Lamont Weekly Report, July 26, 2019

    I am pleased to report that Adam Sobel and Mingfang Ting have been elected Fellows of the American Meteorological Society. According to AMS, Fellows “shall have made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years,” and no more than “two-tenths of 1 percent of all AMS members” may be elected Fellow in a given year. Congratulations, Adam and Mingfang!

Lamont Weekly Report, July 19, 2019

    Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, when mankind first set foot on another planetary body. The milestone – arguably as important for understanding the Moon and its lessons for the early history of our solar system as was the contemporary plate tectonics revolution for understanding our own planet – has been much in the news this month.

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