Lamont Weekly Report, April 14, 2017

     One week from tomorrow will be Earth Day (, the day of the March for Science in Washington, D.C. (, and at more than 500 satellite locations. Many from Lamont plan to participate in either the Washington or the New York City march.

     On Tuesday this week, Hyewon Kim successfully defended her thesis on “Microbial interactions in coupled climate-biogeochemical systems.” In addition to her thesis supervisor, Hugh Ducklow, those on her committee included Joaquim Goes, Doug Martinson, Stephanie Pfirman, and Oscar Schofield from Rutgers University. In the near-term, Hyewon will take a Postdoctoral Research Scientist position that calls for her to split her time between Lamont and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Congratulations, Dr. Kim!

     On Wednesday, Lamont’s biannual Postdoctoral Symposium was held in the Comer Building. Nineteen oral presentations and 11 poster presentations demonstrated the broad sweep of research now being led by our postdoctoral scientists. Oral presentations were given by Céline Grall, Samer Naif, and Jean-Arthur Olive from the Marine Geology and Geophysics Division; Roger Fu, Lucia Gualtieri, Emily Hopper, Julie Oppenheimer, Arthur Paté, and Clément Perrin from Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics; Katinka Bellomo, Gabriel Chiodo, Louis Clément, and Melissa Gervais from Ocean and Climate Physics; Blake Dyer, Matthew Harke, Scott LaPoint, and Gerald Rustic from Biology and Paleo Environment; and Jennifer Lamp and Megan Newcombe from Geochemistry. Céline, Scott, and Gerald also gave poster presentations, as did Chandranath Basak, Elizabeth Corbett, Kelsey Dyez, Benjamin Gaglioti, Karla Knudson, Francesco Muschitiello, Christian Otto, and Robert Skarbek. A total of 28 of Lamont’s current cadre of 40 postdoctoral scientists took part in the symposium. Bill Menke served as an unofficial photographer for the daylong event (

     Also on Wednesday, Kathy Callahan, Art Lerner-Lam, Edie Miller, Kim Schermerhorn, and I joined Steve Cohen, David Dvorak, Alison Miller and others from the Earth Institute at a meeting with Provost John Coatsworth, Executive Vice President for Finance and Information Technology Anne Sullivan, Vice President for Budget and Financial Planning Nancy Johnson, and members of their staff. The purpose of the meeting was to present a financial and strategic overview of the Earth Institute and the Observatory and to summarize budget projections for the current and coming fiscal years.

     That evening, the R/V Langseth departed Puerto Montt, Chile, on a transit to Honolulu. She is scheduled to arrive in Hawaii on or about May 7.

     Today is Kathy Callahan’s last day as Deputy Director of Research Management. For more than 5 years, Kathy has led our Research Management Department, an important arm of the Lamont Directorate. Shortly after my arrival, she also took on the role of providing additional oversight to our departments of Finance and Administration and Facilities and Engineering. Under Kathy’s guidance, we have substantially improved our understanding of the many challenges that our organization faces and will continue to encounter within the ever-changing landscape of federally funded scientific research. Kathy’s thoughtful leadership and careful consideration of financial and administrative issues has allowed us to ensure that the Observatory continues to play a leading role in improving our understanding of the workings of our planet. As Kathy transitions to a well-earned retirement, we will build upon the work she has completed and learn from the lessons she has taught us. Please join me in thanking Kathy for her years of dedicated service to Lamont and in wishing her an enjoyable and fruitful retirement.

       Late last week, Jonathan Nichols was interviewed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science about his participation in Climate Science Day visits to Capitol Hill lawmakers and staffers last month ( On Monday, National Geographic posted an article and a video on Ben Holtzman and his SeismoDome audio-video show on earthquakes, wave propagation, and seismic noise ( Mo Raymo was quoted in an article in Nature Wednesday, reprinted that same day in Scientific American, on the prospect for instability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet ( And Peter Kelemen’s work as lead scientist for the Oman Drilling Project and the insight that project will provide into prospects for carbon capture and storage in Earth’s oceanic mantle was the subject of a story posted yesterday by Associated Press ('s-hills), along with video footage from Oman posted on YouTube (

     Next week will feature several highlights. On Wednesday evening, in the Low Library Rotunda, the 2017 Vetlesen Prize will be presented in a black-tie ceremony to Mark Cane and Princeton University’s George Philander ( CNN’s Fareed Zakaria will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening. The day before, beginning at 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon, Mark and George will give the Vetlesen Lectures in Monell Auditorium. Mark will lead off with a 30-minute talk on “The ENSO mechanism: What’s under the hood.” George will follow with an equal-length talk on “The hedgehog and the fox: A Nelson Mandela perspective on global warming.” A reception will follow the two lectures.

     On Friday of next week, former Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow Kenneth Farley, the W. M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry at Caltech and former chair of their Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (, will deliver the annual W. S. Jardetzky Lecture ( A Participating Scientist on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory – or Curiosity rover – mission and Project Scientist for the 2020 Mars rover mission, Ken will speak on “Geology on Mars: Ongoing results from Curiosity and planning for the next Mars rover.” Once again, a reception will follow the lecture.

     Also, the Campus Life Committee is sponsoring several events next week to celebrate Earth Day. Spring cleaning of offices and recycling are encouraged throughout the week. At noon on Tuesday, there will be a Charity Yoga Class, with all proceeds to go to the New York City Fresh Air Fund. And on Friday, there will be Bike-to-Work events from Manhattan and from Nyack/Piermont. Bikers will be treated to a free breakfast in the Lamont Café.

     In the meantime, today is Lamont’s First-Year Colloquium, a series of talks in Monell Auditorium by first-year graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The event began at 10 am with morning talks by Daniel Bishop, Nicholas Bock, Elise Myers, Thomas Weiss, Yuxin Zhou, and Jordan Abell. This afternoon there are talks by Marina Gemma, Henry Towbin, Athena Nghiem, Colleen Baublitz, Una Miller, Julian Spergel, and Bar Oryan. I hope that you’ve been able to catch news of the work being carried out by some of our younger colleagues.