This week has served as the approximate midpoint of a gradual transition from summer to fall schedules, marked most visibly by the demographics of the students on campus.
Director's Weekly Reports
There’s a George Harrison song with the lyrics, “Here comes the Sun, and I say it’s all right.” This week the Sun featured in two important news items.
The week has been a difficult one for those faced with natural hazards. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/05/world/asia/indonesia-earthquake.html) hit Indonesia Sunday near the island of Lombok, in an area that had experienced a magnitude 6.4 quake only one week earlier, and destroyed more than 40,000 structures, killed more than 160, and displaced more than 150,000 residents.
On Monday, the American Geophysical Union – via an article in Eos written by AGU President-elect Robin Bell (https://eos.org/agu-news/2018-agu-section-awardees-and-named-lecturers) – announced the 2018 Section awardees. Steve Goldstein is to receive the Norman L.
The Director’s Weekly Reports, although typically circulated before midday every Friday, are often written the day before, particularly in weeks with multiple Friday morning meetings. On such a schedule, important milestones late in the week are often not mentioned until a week later. This week provides several examples of such a pattern.
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game marks the approximate midpoint of academic summer, and Tuesday night’s game with its record number of home runs was no exception. But at least we still have nearly half of summer left before classes begin once again in the fall.
The Ocean and Climate Physics Division recently welcomed new Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow Spencer Jones. A physical oceanographer, Spencer holds an undergraduate degree from Oxford University and recently completed his Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, under the supervision of Paola Cessi.
This week set high-temperature records at a number of locations in North America and Europe (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week/). Given the mid-week holiday and the local weather, it was a good time to be away from New York City, and I was among many who followed this advice.
Today marks the last business day of Columbia University’s fiscal year, and there have been myriad financial, personnel, and associated programmatic issues to address and resolve, particularly for Lamont’s cheerfully hard-working administrative staff. It is well that the coming week includes a Wednesday holiday that will enable long weekends off for many.
Yesterday was the summer solstice, as you could have ascertained from a measurement of the hours of daylight or the noon position of the Sun in the sky. Summer-like weather in New York and elsewhere in North America, of course, jumped the gun.
Yesterday, a beautiful late spring day, was Flag Day, and those of us who commuted to Lamont from New York City were greeted en route by a giant American flag hanging from the western tower of the George Washington Bridge.
This week began Saturday with the fall of asteroid 2018 LA, an object some 2 m across that was largely consumed in an atmospheric fireball over southern Africa.
The flip of the page on our monthly calendars today reminds us that Lamont Summer Interns will be arriving early next week, in time for a welcoming reception next Tuesday. This summer the program will welcome 28 interns from 19 colleges and universities. The interns will work on research projects supervised by 35 mentors. A list of the interns, their undergraduate institutions, and their mentors follows:
Notwithstanding that the spring semester has ended and Commencement was last week, the impending end of the academic and university fiscal year makes this an especially busy season.
Commencement events at Columbia University this week marked important milestones for many of our students, notwithstanding the week’s storm fronts and rainfall totals. To all with new degrees, congratulations!
This week, Visiting Senior Research Scientist Al Hofmann received the good news that he has been elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society.
This week marked the end of classes for the spring semester on Monday, and record-tying to record-breaking high temperatures for the date in Central Park on Wednesday and Thursday (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-03/new-york-ties-record-high-temperature-now-be-ready-for-a-repeat).
This week Alex Halliday moved to New York City, and he will begin his tenure as Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute on Monday. A Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Alex will also join Lamont’s Senior Staff on Monday. As a member of the Geochemistry Division, he now has an office in the Comer Building and will soon have a laboratory for isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry. He will devote much of his first day on the job hosting a meeting of the Earth Institute faculty, also in Comer.
This week has led up to Earth Day 2018 this Sunday (https://www.earthday.org/). In recognition of Earth Day, the campus hosted a Charity Yoga Class on Tuesday – with donations collected for the NYC Fresh Air Fund – and Bike-to-Work events from Manhattan and from Nyack and Piermont this morning. All who joined one of the Bike-to-Work groups were treated to a free breakfast in the Lamont Café.
This week was made much more difficult by the announcement Tuesday that the National Science Foundation will divest from its ownership of the R/V Marcus Langseth after the end of existing and anticipated commitments to projects requiring the vessel’s special capabilities (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf18061).