It is not possible to comment upon the events of this week without talking about Tuesday -we should all be forever proud of this day - no matter our political inclination. Our democratic system - so often the source of delay, inaction and frustration - worked the way it should.
Washington is now awash with the transition process, but it will be sometime before we know much of decisions that are important to us. Non-cabinet level political appointments (like for example the Administrators of NOAA and NASA) on average take 8-12 months to be filled - Senate ratification being one key source of delay. But we may see some early decisions on the structure and authority of any new White House science advisory structure - which should provide insight
into the role that research and education will have within the new President's inner circle.
The Obama transition team is trying to move quickly - they have already approached our representative organizations in DC (principally UCAR and Ocean Leadership) with a deadline of November 12th for input and advice on key climate-ocean-environment leadership positions.
In the immediate short term the question arises as to whether the science agencies can benefit from some of the multi-billion dollar stimulus packages that are being discussed. I will not hold my breath, but we are writing letters to Congressmen anyway!
But now for something completely different:
I am pleased to announce that, effective 1st November, Robin Bell of Marine Geology and Geophysics and Richard Seager of Ocean and Climate Physics are appointed as PGI Senior Research Scientists. This honor is awarded in recognition of the outstanding research contributions they have made to their respective research fields, and also for the
leadership they have exhibited in the national and international arenas, as well as within the Observatory and the University. We are greatly indebted to Robin and Richard for the recognition they have brought to Lamont and hope they will continue their productive and effective careers for decades into the future. Especially we send best wishes to Robin as she prepares next weekend to head to the South Pole (and beyond!!) for a multi-month research expedition that we hope will revolutionize our understanding of the Antarctican continent and the complexities of its overlying, ever-moving ice cap. Congratulations, Robin! Congratulations, Richard!
A week on Thursday - November 20th Walter Alvarez - the winner of the 2008 Vetlesen medal - will be visiting Lamont and will give a talk about his K-T boundary work at 330pm in the Monell Auditorium. Please make a note in your calendars - I expect it will be a memorable presentation. Walter is in town to receive his medal from President Bollinger at the ceremony in the Low Library that will take place on Friday 21st.
Just saw Jeff Daniels (i.e. the movie star) wandering around the Oceanography parking lot - have not spotted Lisa Kudrow... yet!
Have a great weekend, Mike