Lamont Weekly Report, April 19, 2013

     The week began with Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, and the dual explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That horrific event put into mundane perspective the confluence of scientific proposals, reference letters, and income tax payments all due on the same day.

    Good news arrived nonetheless with the announcement from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences that three current DEES graduate students and one incoming student have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowships, and two graduate students received honorable mention in the selection process. The newest NSF Graduate Fellows in or soon to arrive in DEES are Asna Ansari (Geochemistry), Kyle Frischkorn and Angelica Patterson (Biogeosciences), and Abagael West (Paleontology). Honorable mentions went to Nora Mascioli (OCP) and Hannah Rabinowitz (SGT). Please join me in congratulating our students for their extraordinarily fine showing in this national competition.

     A new arrival at Lamont this week was Laureen Drab, who has joined the Borehole Research Group of the Marine Geology and Geophysics Division as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. Laureen obtained her Ph.D. last year from École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where her thesis involved a geomorphological and cosmogenic nuclide study of a portion of the North Anatolian Fault and a paleoseismological investigation of earthquakes in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey. 

     A reminder was circulated this week that proposals to the Earth Institute’s Cross-Cutting Initiative and Earth Clinic programs are due on 1 May. The Earth Clinic is designed to serve the needs of clients in developing countries by offering creative responses to pressing economic and environmental problems ( The Cross-Cutting Initiative program enables studies of complex problems in the field of sustainable development that require bridging across two or more disciplines (

    On Wednesday I visited Roger Wakimoto, NSF’s Assistant Director for the Geosciences Directorate, along with WHOI Director Susan Avery, Scripps Interim Director Cathy Constable, and Bruce Corliss, Dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Our discussion ranged broadly over such issues as ship operations support, balancing the budgetary demands of research and infrastructure, multi-disciplinary programs, education, and data management.

     Among news stories this week featuring Lamont scientists was an interview with Roger Anderson in Monday’s Wall Street Journal on the rationale for investments by power companies in the burial of power lines to forestall long outages after major storms ( In anticipation of Earth Day next week, an interview with Robin Bell and a summary of her research appeared on Nyack News and Views on Tuesday ( The work of Sloan Coats, Jason Smerdon, Richard Seager, and colleagues on hindcasting droughts in the southwestern U.S. over the past millennium, presented at last week’s General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, was featured in a news article in Thursday’s issue of Nature (

    This Sunday, Emily Klein will give the third of Lamont’s Spring 2013 Public Lectures. Emily’s talk, on “Volcanoes and vents: A hidden world beneath the sea,” will be given in Monell at 3 pm. A Lamont alumna, Emily is on sabbatical leave this semester from her positions as Professor of Geology and Bass Fellow at Duke University and is a Visiting Senior Research Scientist in the Observatory’s Geochemistry Division.

     Next week, historian of science Deborah Warner will visit Lamont to meet with several staff members about the Observatory’s role in the development of seismology and seismic instrumentation. Warner, a Curator in the Physical Sciences Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, is working on a history of seismology.

     Today’s Earth Science Colloquium will feature Lamont’s Spring 2013 Diversity Seminar, to be given by Jacquelyn Bolman, Director of the Indian Natural Resources, Science and Engineering Program ( at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Dr. Bolman, a member of the Lakota Nation of South Dakota, will speak on “Native American geoscientists: A perspective.” I hope that you will join me there.