Lamont Weekly Report, August 7, 2015

     The Lamont campus was deeply saddened this week by the news that Dennis Hayes passed away on Thursday morning. A fixture in the Lamont family for more than half a century and a marine geophysicist whose work took him to all the world’s oceans, Denny held important leadership positions both at the Observatory and in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

     Denny first arrived at Lamont in 1961, with a fresh B.S.E. degree in geological engineering from the University of Kansas. With the help of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, he completed his Ph.D. in 1966. He remained at Lamont as a Research Associate and later a Senior Research Associate, and he joined the faculty of what was then Columbia’s Department of Geological Sciences as an Associate Professor in 1974. Denny served as Lamont’s Associate Director for Marine Affairs for two terms spanning more than 20 years, as well as Associate Director for Marine Geology and Geophysics for five years. He served two five-year terms as chair of DEES, in 1989-1994 and 1997-2002. He retired from his faculty position in 2009, at which time he accepted a Special Research Scientist appointment at Lamont.
     Denny’s research interests ranged broadly. He made major contributions to our understanding of depth-age relations in ocean basins, the origin and evolution of the marginal seas of Southeast Asia, and the tectonics and paleobathymetry of the Southern Ocean. He served as chief scientist on 20 oceanographic expeditions and as editor or co-editor for 12 books. A Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, Denny was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and held Visiting Professor positions at Stanford and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris.
     Denny’s funeral will be this Sunday, beginning at 11 am at the Pizzi Funeral Home in Northvale, New Jersey. Guests are asked to arrive at 10:30, and anyone wishing to say a few words of remembrance is invited to do so. Burial will follow at the Cedar Park Cemetery in Oradell.
     Even as we pause to pay our respect to a long-time friend and colleague, other activities at Observatory continued apace this week.
     I am pleased to report that Susanne Straub has been promoted to Lamont Associate Research Professor, Senior Staff, effective 1 August. Susanne has recently been awarded a one-year Visiting Research Scholarship and Visiting Associate Professorship, to begin this October, by the Graduate School of Science at Kyoto University. She will devote the year to the compilation of a global database of compositions for island-arc volcanic rocks and their contributing sources (e.g., subducted oceanic crust, subducted sediments, overlying mantle). Susanne will be based at the Beppu Geothermal Research Laboratory on Kyushu.
     This week Lamont hosted visits by representatives of two foundations that support programs in education, particularly aimed at underserved communities in New York City. The visits, arranged by Karen Buck and Cassie Xu, focused on the Secondary School Field Research Program ( led by Bob Newton. On Monday, our visitors were Kenneth Merin and Carol Van Atten, President and Vice President, respectively, of the Charles Hayden Foundation. After an introductory session with Bob, Cassie, Art Lerner-Lam, and me, Ken and Carol were given tours of labs in which SSFRP students are working this summer, and over lunch they met with a number of the students and their teachers.
     On Tuesday, our visitors were program officers Laurie Dien and Jennifer Correa from the Pinkerton Foundation, along with Christine Banks Calderón, a Senior Program Coordinator at the American Museum of Natural History and manager of the NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium (which includes the SSFRP). After hearing an introduction to Lamont’s educational programs from Margie Turrin, the three visited groups of SSFRP students in the labs of Ben Bostick, Dorothy Peteet, and Ray Sambrotto; joined Karen, Bob, Art, Cassie, and me for lunch; and then headed to the Piermont Marsh for a tour of student field projects led by Bob.
     Lamont scientists were much in the news this week. A New York Times story this weekend on the challenging set of simultaneous wildfires in the western U.S. quoted Park Williams on the cumulative effects of years of high temperatures and high evaporation rates on forests in the region ( A National Science Foundation web story on Tuesday described several broadly coupled projects in the Aleutians being supported by the GeoPRISMS (Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins) project, including one on magmatic water content led by Terry Plank and colleagues at the Carnegie Institution, and another on the geochemical relation of plutonic rocks from the central Aleutians to continental crust led by Peter Kelemen, Steve Goldstein, and Merry Cai ( Featured Wednesday on Academic Minute on WAMC Northeast Public Radio was Philipp Ruprecht, who spoke about volcanoes and clues from crystals in the erupted lavas to the ascent time of the magma prior to eruption (
     A news item of a more personal sort was the arrival Monday of my new granddaughter in Arlington, Virginia. I plan to take time off next week (as will this weekly report) to make her acquaintance.