Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, April 16, 2021

     Hello Friends, a big cheer for the last week of classes!  It was another bittersweet semester as the pandemic prevented us from interacting with our students in our usual ways.  Indeed, my class was entirely on Zoom and it was obvious to me that I did not get to know my students as well as during the “before times”.  Hopefully there will be opportunities to sit in the cafeteria and share a meal as our workplace returns to normal over the coming months.  Along these lines, I have been happy to hear that people are enjoying the new picnic tables an

Lamont Weekly Report, April 2, 2021

     Hello Friends,  This week’s science round-up has some great stories.  Lamont Associate Research Professor Anne Bécel is quoted in an article about an emerging effort to harness the power of satellite-linked cargo ship GPS systems to detect the presence and pathways of tsunamis in the ocean.  What an amazingly creative idea and perfect example of merging ocean science and technology in ways that can save lives.  The ships have something called the Automatic Identificat

Lamont Weekly Report, March 26, 2021

     Hello Friends,  It has been a quiet week.  A week to ponder what the near future will hold.  An easing of pandemic pressures?  Enhanced stress with a new virus variant?  Of course, relief that appointments for vaccines are becoming increasingly easy to schedule.  In the Dean’s Council meeting yesterday, we were told that discussions are being had and guidance will soon be forthcoming on issues ranging from summer travel policies, visitor policies, return to work policies, small gathering policies, vaccine policies and more.  How do

Lamont Weekly Report, March 12, 2021

Hello Friends,  A lot has been going on over the past two weeks, most obviously the arrival of warm spring weather and uplifted spirits.  This is also the time of year when graduate student admissions are in full swing and the Observatory competes for the best and brightest in the nation.  Last Friday, in my joint lab meeting with Jacky Austermann, we welcomed three prospective students, Emily, Yichen, and Mila.  Jacky had the inspired idea of asking each person in our group to say one thing they liked about Lamont after introducing themselves and their research.&nb

Lamont Weekly Report, March 5, 2021

     Hello Friends,  I am using Spring Break week to catch up on email and take a breath.  Your friendly action-packed newsletter will be back next week.  Until then, put on your own mask first before taking care of others.

     Have a peaceful weekend.

     Best, Mo

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Lamont Weekly Report, February 26, 2021

     Hello Friends,  Spring is in the air—and not a moment too soon.  I think the added challenge of cold, darkness, and snow is pushing many of us to a breaking point from our already weirdly normalized pandemic (dis)equilibrium.  We are stressed, we are depressed, we are coping in ways we might not even appreciate, just out of the sheer necessity of getting through another day with parents, children, health challenges, work demands, and more.

Lamont Weekly Report, February 19, 2021

     Hello Friends,  This week’s science stories were all about dams and dinosaurs, including Adjunct Senior Research Scientist Dennis Kent’s work unraveling the mysterious movements of our sauropodian friends across Pangea and across the Mesozoic.  Perhaps you didn’t know that the non-descript small white building behind the Core Repository building is actually one of the leading centers of paleomagnetic research in the nation, with a history of transformative research reaching back decades.

Lamont Weekly Report, February 5, 2021

     Hello Friends, I was very happy this week to circulate the Lamont Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Report which I received from the Task Force co-chairs Gisela Winckler, Kailani Acosta, and Benjamin Keisling.  If you have even glanced at it, you can appreciate the depth of thought and work that went into creating this inspiring document.  I look forward to next week’s Town Hall (on Friday) where we will officially launch the next phase of our DEI and anti-racism activities—where the baton will be passed to the Directorate, and indeed all of us, to ta

Lamont Weekly Report, January 22, 2021

     Hello Friends,  We come to the end of another roller coaster of a week.  Holding our breath on Inauguration Day morning.  Being inspired by an incredible youth poet.  Smiling at Bernie Sanders mittens.  Hoping for a more civil union as 2021 unfolds.  And for some of us, waiting patiently, marshalling our ideas, discussing with our DC advisory reps, and trying to read the tea leaves to see what opportunities a Biden stimulus package might present to Lamont and our emerging Climate School.

Lamont Weekly Report, January 8, 2021

     Hello Friends,  It is so hard to know what to write in this moment.  Many of us had two lovely weeks in our family bubbles, with a blissful decrease in Zoom meetings and email, and came back excited (I hope) to reconnect with our students, colleagues, and co-workers.  But on Wednesday we were assaulted with yet another egregious example of the racism and hypocrisy that is so woven into the fabric of our society.  It is painful to think about.  It is painful to watch.  Although I know that there is a segment of society that will be apolo

Lamont Weekly Report, December 18, 2020

     Hello Friends,  I hope all are enjoying the winter wonderland we now have, and possibly even the beautiful pink sunrise this morning.  A huge thanks to the B&G crew for snow removal and for working through the night Wednesday to clear the campus.  We have lots of interesting research news, as well as accomplishments, to celebrate this week, but it is important that I—we—step back for a moment and look at the big picture.  We have been fortunate to be in, physically or virtually, our Lamont campus bubble for many months now.  We have our

Lamont Weekly Report, December 11, 2020

     Hello Friends, Welcome to another Friday, COVID-19 Edition.  We are all deep into the American Geophysical Union more-than-two-weeks-long meeting now.  Globally time-zone friendly, it runs from early in the morning to late at night and if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, you are not alone.  I have that straight from the Lamont grapevine, parents especially.  However, please hold the date December 16th, Wednesday evening at 7 pm, for yet another can’t-miss-event, the annual

Lamont Weekly Report, December 4, 2020

     Hello Friends, I am prefacing this week’s newsletter with an acknowledgment of the unfathomable suffering happening in our nation this week, as record-setting numbers of citizens are succumbing to COVID.  Indeed, it is hard not to become numb to the scale of the daily deaths.  Please reach out if you need help, or even an ear…to CU resources, to Lamont colleagues, or the Directorate directly.  Our community has escaped relatively unscathed, an outcome I attribute directly to science—to the strong regulations and advice based on scientific data, and to the

Lamont Weekly Report, November 20, 2020

     Hello Friends, I’m sorry I have to start with the gloomy stuff—the pandemic is worsening in the region and we must continue to be vigilant, in the labs and especially in the café and other common spaces.  We’ve all seen how things can go south quickly.  The NYC schools have closed down again making life even harder for those with children.  Please go here to find many university resources for parents, including daycare.  Hopefully we can bend the curve down quickly.&

Lamont Weekly Report, November 13, 2020

     Hello Friends, Happy Friday the 13th.  It’s a gloomy day and the news about Covid-19 around the nation is gloomier still.  Please all be attuned to the rapidly evolving guidance on inter-state travel and meet-ups as Thanksgiving approaches.  Positivity rates are going up all around us and Columbia has transitioned from green to yellow alert levels.  Early next week the University will be sponsoring two forums for faculty, researchers, and staff addressing the latest information about public health and university planning.  You can regi

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