Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, November 21, 2012

It’s been a short workweek, truncated by a welcome opportunity to give thanks for family, friends, colleagues, and professional progress over the past year.
It is saddening, however, that geodesist and tectonophysicist John Beavan, a long-term member of the scientific staff at Lamont, succumbed to bladder cancer this past weekend.  John rose through the ranks to senior staff the observatory......

Lamont Weekly Report, November 16, 2012

For me this has been a week spent off campus. I chaired a two-and-a-half-day meeting of the MESSENGER Science Team hosted by UCLA and held in Santa Monica, and UCLA persuaded me to stay in town for another half day to give a departmental seminar. The warm weather and views of the Pacific have been a welcome change, and I’ve been moved by the large number of our west coast colleagues who have offered sympathy and concern for those of us who weathered....

Lamont Weekly Report, November 9, 2012

By Wednesday of this week, we were no sooner back to a normal shuttle schedule and nearly full electrical service, the latter thanks in large part to the crews sent to assist our region by Georgia Light and Power, when we were welcomed by the first snow of the season. Dubbed winter storm Athena by The Weather Channel, the nor’easter delivered a coat of white to the campus and added insult to those still struggling to recover from the injuries of hurricane Sandy. Locally, our Building and Grounds crew once again rose to the challenge and put in extra hours to clear roads and pathways into the evening and the next morning...

Lamont Weekly Report, October 26, 2012

This week has been sandwiched by extreme natural events. On Monday, four geophysicists, two seismic engineers, and a government worker were given 6-year jail sentences in Italy for failing to provide the public with adequate warning of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, an event of moment magnitude 6.3 that led to more than 300 fatalities. The case has become a...

Lamont Weekly Report, October 19, 2012

That I’ve been away from the Observatory for four of the last five days has not diminished this week’s news.
On Monday, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced that Tiffany Shaw is one of 16 recipients this year of a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering ( Each Packard Fellow receives an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years. Nominations for fellowships are solicited from the Presidents of 50 universities, each of whom may submit no more than two nominations, so the awards are extremely competitive. A champagne reception to toast Tiffany’s award will be held at 3:30 pm on Monday in the Monell lower lobby...

Lamont Weekly Report, October 12, 2012

The first full round of Major League Baseball playoffs and a debate between Vice Presidential candidates remind us that we are in the month of October.

In late-breaking news last week, the DEES Graduate Student Committee announced that Lorenzo Polvani was named the DEES Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012. Lorenzo accepted the award immediately before last Friday’s Earth...

Lamont Weekly Report, October 5, 2012

The week has been one of continued honors, professional advancement, and institutional impact.
In last week’s list of those in the Lamont community who received awards over the past year, an inadvertent omission was Celia Eddy. As a graduating senior in DEES last spring, Celia received Departmental Honors. Already a research veteran who has presented her work at the past two AGU Fall Meetings, Celia elected to remain at Columbia and Lamont and is...

Lamont Weekly Report, September 21, 2012

This week was marked by recognition, outreach, and service. 

I am pleased to report that Sean Higgins, Director of Lamont’s Office of Marine Operations, has been promoted to Senior Research Scientist. The promotion recognizes Sean’s outstanding record at managing the resources and personnel in support of the operations of the R/V Langseth on behalf of both Lamont and the broader marine science community. 
For those of you interested in learning more about communicating effectively with the news media, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Earth Institute are hosting a media training workshop on the morning of Monday, 1 October.The workshop, to be held on the Morningside campus, will be run by members of the communications...

Lamont Weekly Report, September 14, 2012

It was evident this week that the academic year is in full swing.

On Monday, Art Lerner-Lam and I met with about two-thirds of Lamont’s postdoctoral scientists over lunch. A free-ranging discussion covered such topics as mentoring, career trajectories, expectations for scholarly progress, and opportunities for teaching and advising of student interns. Kuheli Dutt manages a web listing of Lamont’s current postdoctoral scientists (at least those who have responded to her request for a photo and a brief summary of research interests) at Kuheli also maintains a website that collects topics of specific interest to our postdoctoral scientists at

Lamont Weekly Report, September 7, 2012

It has been a week of new faces and new connections.

This week Lamont welcomed the arrival of Solange Duhamel, our newest Lamont Assistant Research Professor. A marine biologist, biogeochemist, and microbial ecologist, Solange received her Ph.D. in marine environmental science from the University of Aix-Marseille II in 2007, and she completed postdoctoral appointments at the University of Hawaii and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research directions address the role of microorganisms as agents of biogeochemical change and the complementary role of nutrient availability in the distribution and productivity of microplankton... 

Lamont Weekly Report, August 31, 2012

The seasons are changing. Even as many on the Lamont staff are exploiting the final days of August for the rejuvenation and renewal of late-summer vacations, the Morningside campus is awash with the fresh
faces of new students.

On Sunday, the Langseth completed her most recent cruise, which included four dives by the ROV Jason, and returned to Astoria, Oregon. The successful completion of all of the planned work on that cruise owes much to the considerable efforts by the ship's officers and crew, and by Lamont's Office of Marine Operations, to adapt the Langseth to be able to support Jason operations...