Lamont Weekly Report, May 15, 2009

Thank you to all who attended the ceremony this afternoon to honor this year's recipient of the Observatory's Excellence in Mentoring award. It was an activity designed to emphasize the importance of mentoring our junior colleagues - helping them succeed in the tough competitive environment in which we all live. Everyone who was nominated for this award deserves our recognition and thanks - so if you see Juerg Matter, Nick Christie-Blick, Doug Martinson, Alexey Kaplan in the next few days thank them for their important contributions to the quality of our work environment here at Lamont.
These folks along with all the previous recipients of this award - Gordon Jacoby, Bob Anderson, Marc Spiegelman, Kevin Griffith, Sid Hemming - all deserve our sincere thanks.

 This year's recipient was Alexey Kaplan - the citation on his award certificate read, in part,

"Alexey is a generous, dependable, and understanding advisor whose jovial, approachable, encouraging, and enthusiastic demeanor brings out the best in his students, post-docs, and junior scientists by fostering positive attitudes, building confidence in their ideas, developing independence, and promoting a balanced life."

Many congratulations Alexey - and we all hope that you put the $2000 check that accompanies this award to good use to increase the joy in your own life. (And many thanks to Chris Zappa and his selection committee for all their work in organizing this event.)

Several meetings downtown this week - including Alan Brinkley's final Council of Dean's meeting (also Austin Quigley's - Dean of Columbia College). Next academic year will bring several new faces to the senior leadership of the University and it will be interesting to see the organizational and policy changes that will accompany this. We held the inaugural meeting of the Alumni Association's Historic Preservation Committee on Thursday afternoon. This is a new group that we have formed to provide leadership in developing a number of projects  intended to 'tell the story' of Lamont's great
accomplishments over the past 60 years - to design and build displays that will preserve some precious artifacts and communicate the significance of several of Lamont's achievements. We hope to get the first displays in place in early 2010.

My boat is in the water now, so any spare time at the weekend is consumed by a myriad of mundane maintenance tasks, which, if performed at home would be simply tedious, but when preformed on a boat, somehow magically, are a source of great fun and satisfaction. And it will most likely be raining too.

Have a good one,

- Mike