Lamont Weekly Report, November 5, 2010

November 5th is an important date in England - Bonfire Night - an odd tradition recognizing the night in 1605 when an extremist by the name of Guy Fawkes succeeded in loading lots of gunpowder into the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with the intent of doing away with a large part of the government. For reasons I have always failed to understand it is celebrated nationwide in England to this day with bonfires and fireworks - burning effigies of poor old Guy - quite
bizarre really. Not sure what made me think of this - maybe it was the election results on Tuesday...

If one looks at the budget for NSF over the last few decades it is well-nigh impossible to detect a meaningful correlation between the magnitude of appropriations and the identity of the party controlling the House, Senate, or the White House. So from a purely financial point-of-view it is hard for me predict whether the outcomes of Tuesday's elections really mean very much for Lamont.

It has been an odd week all around. Tied up with the continuing NSF Business Systems review downtown all day Monday, got a lot done on Tuesday because there was no-one around, but then had to fly off to Chicago early Wednesday morning for a set of Development visits - all of which went extremely well - the only downside was the return flight.  The 330pm flight home to La Guardia on Thursday afternoon (a two hour flight) landed after 930pm - the euphemistic 'air traffic
control delay' problem.

A large part of today was spent interviewing one of our leading candidates for the new Assistant Director position (for Large Projects and Compliance). But unquestionably the high point was this afternoon's Science of Diversity Lecture by Provost Claude Steele. I think this is only the second time the Provost has visited our Campus, and although it
was just a short visit, it was very useful to discuss a wide range of issues with him.

It is the time of year to start thinking about the San Francisco AGU - as you plan your weeks schedule please remember the most important date - the Lamont Alumni event - same time same place as always - Tuesday, December 14th,  San Francisco Marriott, Union Square, 480 Sutter Street, 30th floor. The general Alumni Meeting: 5:30-6:30, and
the main reception from 6:30 til 8:30. I fear because of our continuing financial woes (as in reduced endowment income) we will have to do as a we did last year and have a cash bar again...

Have a great weekend,

- Mike