Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, March 9, 2012

The week opened with a wonderful luncheon for Ken Hunkins, organized by Margie Turrin and Barb Charbonnet, with new friends, old friends and old new friends attending. We were able to present Ken with the original map - now mounted and preserved - showing the tracks of all of the drifting ice stations that revolutionized exploration of the Arctic, beginning with Ice Station Alpha during the International Geophysical Year.

Lamont Weekly Report, March 2, 2012

Just a brief report today: running out of time.

Steve Zebiak stepped down this week as Director General of the IRI, after a long and successful tenure at the helm. Steve led the IRI toward its current unique position as one of the most sophisticated sources of actionable, science-based advice to international development organizations, national institutions and agencies, and foreign governments. His contributions are immense, and both the EI and Lamont owe him a great deal. He will be staying on at the IRI and will continue to develop programs in climate services...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 24, 2012


We had an executive committee marathon this morning, trying to catch up on several topics.

 I’ve asked Mahdad Parsi, Naomi Naik and Benno Blumenthal to participate in several working groups underneath the “Shared Research Computing Policy Advisory Committee” being run out of Mike Purdy’s EVPR office. These working groups will focus on assessing existing computational resources, enumerating needs for computational power and storage, evaluating cloud architecture and other topics...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 17, 2012

Some personnel news:

Nichole Anest has been promoted to curator of Lamont's Core Repository. Under the leadership of Mo Raymo, we are planning to start a major renovation to build and support next-generation analytical facilities. As everyone knows, the cores are a never-ending source of new observations and new science, and Nichole's curation will be a crucial bridge to future utilization of the repository. Nichole takes over from Rusty Lotti, who retired last year, and who was instrumental
in giving us a great base for future growth...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 10, 2012

A nice surprise this morning: NOAA has announced that:

"Marcus G. Langseth has been selected for a 2011 Voluntary Weather Observing Ship (VOS) Award and Plaque with an outstanding total of 3,749 valuable manual and automated marine observations!   In addition, your ship staff also helped automate observation programs on Roger Revelle and Melville. You will receive your special award later this year.  Once
you have the award, we hope to acquire a digital photo for the Mariner's Weather Log to honor your achievement."...

Lamont Weekly Report, February 3, 2012

We got into serious campus budget talks this week. On Monday the associate directors, the division DAs, and senior admin folks gathered in one room to scope out the remainder of this fiscal year and talk about next year's hiring and space plans. We discussed opportunities and constraints as a group, which will give us a more balanced way of

managing new investments next year. For example, as part of the budget workup, we will be phasing in an approach to commodity computer purchases and training and support opportunities for senior technical staff. As I mentioned last week, the Executive Committee and OMG will be heavily involved in these discussions...


Lamont Weekly Report, January 27, 2012

One of our collective strategies going forward is to broaden our base of funding from traditional sources by developing relationships with other agencies and institutions. Working in our favor is the growing realization in some of these agencies that university-based fundamental research is necessary in its own right and has much to contribute to

their missions and agendas. For example, USAID - an agency with which we have had some past interactions - is in the process of developing an external grants program for universities, meant to support basic research in support of development objectives....


Lamont Weekly Report, January 20, 2012

News flash! Tony Del Genio and Peter deMenocal have been named AGU Fellows for 2012! (Also named: Lamont graduates Ana Ravelo and Paul Wessel.)
MB-System aficionados held a two-day workshop in the Worzel Room this week, hosted by Dale Chayes and Dave Caress (ex-Lamont, now MBARI). In case you don’t know, MB-System is the open source software originally developed at Lamont for processing and displaying a host of underway marine imaging data; over the years it has been supported by NSF, NOAA, the Packard Foundation (through MBARI) and others. A new NSF proposal is in preparation...


Lamont Weekly Report, January 13, 2012

This being the first full week after the holiday break, most of my time was spent in meetings and catching up. Much of the next few weeks will be spent working with Edie and the associate directors preparing the Observatory budget for our next fiscal year. At the same time, we are paying close attention to the federal government's plans for future science agency budgets. Some Lamont and IRI scientists will be visiting Capitol Hill at the end of the month to participate in "Climate
Science Day," organized by the AAAS, AGU, AMS (and other professional organizations), to make the case for the importance of university-based basic research. It's a message that cannot be repeated too frequently...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 16, 2011

It was great to see so many friends and family at the Lamont holiday reception Wednesday afternoon. Many thanks to Miriam Cinquegrana and Bev Wuerfel for organizing the festivities. I promise we'll order more crackers next time.

I kept various meetings and appointments regarding Lamont space and communications, agency relationships, and a few other matters. We're in serious planning mode for space in several of our buildings, including planning for labs in support of several of our biogeoscience recruiting opportunities. We'll convene a group to discuss the programming for biogeo labs after the first of the new year...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 9, 2011

AGU week was the usual flurry of sessions, town halls and committee meetings, with a few social gatherings thrown in. Of course, the best of these, from my unbiased perspective, was the Lamont reception on Tuesday evening. The crowd was large, loud, and loquacious. Mia Leo and her husband, Dick, were there, receiving toasts and congratulations, washed
down with warm memories. Many thanks go to Stacey Vassallo and Erika Freimuth for keeping this great tradition in top form...

Lamont Weekly Report, December 2, 2011

A pre-AGU week of almost daily highlights:

Monday: Mia Leo's retirement celebration was a wonderful testament to all she has done for our students, not to mention all she has done for DEES and Lamont. Among the standouts: the ecclesiastically subtle hymn to her; the doo-wop performance by the Chairs, complete with funky variable time signature; the Folksmen-style hootenanny, enhanced by a
QMDA-flavored percussion section; and, of course, "Mamma Mia," which improved on the original lyrics of possibly the most overrated bubblegum pop band on the planet...

Lamont Weekly Report, November 23, 2011

Pratigya Polissar has taken over the chairmanship of the LDEO Campus Life Committee from Jason Smerdon. Thanks to Jason for doing a great job, and thanks to Pratigya for taking this on. The Campus Life Committee is the most effective way for the broader Lamont community to express its opinions about our working environment and make suggestions
for improvements. The Chair of the committee meets with the Executive Committee several times each year to provide updates and generate action as needed...

Lamont Weekly Report, November 18, 2011

I'm pleased to introduce Emily Soergel, who is joining us in the Director's Office as a Program Analyst.  Emily holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from SIPA, and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. She will assist us in our long-term financial and programmatic planning. Emily's position is supported with funds from the Earth Institute.

The federal government has been on continuing resolutions since the start of the federal fiscal year FY12 on 1 October, with funding for the science agencies frozen close to FY11 levels...

Lamont Weekly Report, November 14, 2011

Today, November 11, is a palindrome in some formats. Moreover, it's the
last 'binary' date of the century (111111). The next binary date is
January 1, 2101 (010101). See you then.

Today is also Veterans Day. Many members of the Lamont community have served in the armed forces, or have family members who have served or are currently in uniform. This is a day to pay tribute to their contributions, their service and their sacrifices...

Lamont Weekly Report, November 4, 2011

Voila. The lights are on.

After nearly a week, power to Lamont appears to be fully restored. Dick Greco's crew has been on campus continuously since the beginning of Saturday's storm, keeping track of the backup generators, cleaning up debris, and saving trees where they could. The latest hiccup Thursday afternoon - a dangerous one - was a downed 13 kilovolt feed, which
brought O&R hardhats to the campus. One of them, a 41-yr O&R employee, knew Dick (who has been here for 44 years); it's probably that sort of relationship - among the many that Dick has nurtured over the years - that got us up and running ahead of other O&R customers...

Lamont Weekly Report, October 28, 2011

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, to which we belong, held its semi-annual meeting in DC this week. Dave Goldberg and I also attended a meeting of the Scientific Ocean Drilling Subcommittee of the Ocean Leadership Board. These were useful and informative meetings, highlighted by a series of presentations by Ocean Leadership and NSF senior management on the state of the federal science budgets and the impacts on ocean science research and facilities. A few tidbits: we are more confident about the support for ocean drilling within NSF, though the National Science Board still has to weigh in; NSF's Major Research Equipment and Facility Construction (MREFC) account, which supports the construction phase of the Ocean Observatories Initiative, is stressed; infrastructure support costs covered by OCE (ships and other facility operations and maintenance costs) are increasing relative to top-line OCE funding; and NSF as a whole is developing more directed science initiatives, such as Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES)...