Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, July 31, 2020

    Hello Friends,  As I start writing this (on Thursday) of course there is only one thing I really need to say:  HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY MARIE THARP!!!!  What a special moment to reflect upon this early pioneer in oceanography, someone who not only helped put the Earth on the map, but also helped put Lamont on the map.  There has been so much great content about Marie this week, from twitter posts, to interviews, to photographs, to podcasts, to videos — she has clearly become a hero to many, and rightly so. 

Lamont Weekly Report, July 24, 2020

    Hello Friends,  It has been a busy week as I continue to meet with Lamont groups and work with the great team in the Directorate to launch new initiatives, act on community recommendations, and generally try to come up to speed on the byzantine infrastructure of LDEO (and I’m not referring to our “aqueducts” although, yes, yesterday there was another severe electrical disruption that blew fuses on the main  pump supplying water to our campus as well as impacting other parts of Lamont.

Lamont Weekly Report, July 17, 2020

    Hello Friends,  As we migrate into the heart of summer, Lamont continues to slowly reopen.  Hopefully everyone is comfortable with the new procedures and protocols being put in place, all designed to keep us safe and healthy.  Continued thanks to our Lamont COVID committee, the Associate Directors, the building and grounds team, the security and cleaning teams, our bus drivers (Eddie!

Lamont Weekly Report, July 10, 2020

    Hello Friends,  Yesterday I toured the Lamont campus computer centers in Monell and Geoscience with Mahdad Parsi, Pat O’Reilly, and Jeff Turmelle of IRI.  Walking from Monell to Geoscience we crossed paths with a doe and her two frolicking fawns running happily in circles—classic Lamont.  I wish I could enthusiastically report good news about the computer centers but the supporting infrastructure is in bad shape—aging and failing air conditioning units in particular pose a significant infrastructure and budgetary challenge.  These facilities are critic

Lamont Weekly Report, June 19, 2020

    Today is a university holiday, to celebrate the freeing of the last group of slaves in the Confederate States 155 years ago. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, in announcing the holiday on Wednesday evening, acknowledged that “[our institution] is not innocent of the structures of racism that have afflicted America. Yet we also have a history of confronting invidious discrimination and anti-Black racism…, and we need to summon our better traditions as we recognize Juneteenth and commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.”

Lamont Weekly Report, June 5, 2020

    Prompted by the widespread protests this week over the killing last week of George Floyd, for Wednesday’s issue of Climate Fwd: – the climate-focused newsletter of The New York Times – writer Somini Sengupta interviewed three prominent black climate activists about the connections between racism and climate change: Sam Grant at, Robert Bullard at Texas Southern University, and Heather McGhee at Demos.

Lamont Weekly Report, May 22, 2020

    It was a week of very mixed emotions. The Lamont community was deeply saddened by the news that Rhonda Martinson passed away on Tuesday. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, Rhonda worked as an Office Assistant in the Lamont Core Lab from 1979 to 1982. Most now at the Observatory knew Rhonda primarily in her 48-year-long role as the spouse and life partner of Doug Martinson, who retired from his Lamont Research Professor position at the end of January this year. Our thoughts and support go out to Doug and all of Rhonda’s friends and family members.

Lamont Weekly Report, May 15, 2020

    This is an unusual Final Examinations week at Columbia, the capstone to what Lee Bollinger described in a community e-mail yesterday as “one of the most difficult and perplexing semesters in memory.” A large fraction of Columbia personnel spent the week developing plans to reopen university campuses, in a carefully phased manner and at a pace that will be set by criteria to maximize the safety of those returning to the workplace.

Lamont Weekly Report, May 1, 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic and the directives to shelter in place have had very different effects on different segments of our community. Of course, those who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms or whose immediate family members have done so have understandably focused on testing, treatment, and recovery. Health-care providers who have selflessly devoted their time and attention to those most severely ill have earned our sustained gratitude, and the families of health-care workers are no less in our debt for the continuing support they provide.

Lamont Weekly Report, April 17, 2020

    Results from this year’s National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship competition have been a topic in this report series for each of the last two weeks. This week, one more applicant to next year’s class of graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences who received one of NSF’s fellowships announced that she has accepted the department’s offer of admission.

Lamont Weekly Report, April 10, 2020

    The Lamont community was saddened this week by the news that Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences alumna Patience Cowie passed away on Tuesday. An expert in fault mechanics and a Professor of Earth System Dynamics at the University of Bergen, Patience obtained M.Sc. (1988), M.Phil. (1989), and Ph.D. (1992) degrees from Columbia, where she worked under the supervision of Chris Scholz. Prior to moving to the University of Bergen, she held a series of positions at the University of Edinburgh from 1993 to 2011.

Lamont Weekly Report, March 27, 2020

    This has been the first week of New York state’s Policies Assure Uniform Assurance for Everyone (PAUSE) order, and also the first full week during which nearly all of us on the Lamont campus have worked remotely from homes or other off-site locations. Most of us are becoming increasingly familiar with Zoom and other group communication software, and we wrestle with the challenges of conducting research and educational activities with strong new constraints on interpersonal interactions. Notwithstanding these challenges, some progress continued.