Lamont Weekly Report, August 24, 2012

     It has been a week when a tropical storm has captured more than the usual attention by the media and at least one of this country’s two major political parties.
  On Monday, the campus welcomed the arrival of Minosca Alcantara, Lamont’s new Education and Outreach Coordinator. We look forward to seeing the Observatory’s programs in education and public awareness expand in coherence and impact under Minosca’s guidance.
  That same day, I was reminded of Lamont’s leadership half a century ago of the geophysical exploration of the Moon. NASA announced Monday the selection for flight of a single spacecraft that will land on Mars in 2016 with a seismometer package, a heat flow probe, a radio science experiment, and a camera. Although the geophysical exploration of Mars is much to be welcomed, the Moon will remain for the foreseeable future the only extraterrestrial body on which a multi-station seismic network – the Apollo Passive Seismic Experiment led by Gary Latham – operated to record natural and man-made activity.
  Also on Monday, I met with Andy Davidson, Columbia’s Vice Provost for Academic Planning. Andy’s office leads Columbia efforts to expand the diversity of faculty, staff, and students at the university, and we discussed in particular the programs at Lamont and Columbia to recruit and retain postdoctoral scholars and faculty from underrepresented groups. Today, Andy called with the good news that Lamont’s proposal to the Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program, prepared under the leadership of Kuheli Dutt and targeting the hiring of a postdoctoral scientist from an underrepresented minority, has been approved for funding. The goal of enhancing diversity on the Lamont campus is one that all of us should embrace broadly, and I look forward to your assistance in the search for and recruitment of an outstanding postdoctoral scientist who will help us to move toward achieving this goal.
  On Thursday, the campus was visited for the day by about 60 students enrolled in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice program, a cooperative offering of the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. The students were given tours of the campus, notably including a visit to Lamont’s core repository led by Nichole Anest, as well as introductions to LDEO, CIESIN, IRI, and the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program.
  In my e-mail today was a “Member Spotlight” broadcast from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The featured article is “An interview with ‘the father of global warming,’” none other than Wally Broecker. You can view the interview at (but only if you are a member of AAAS).
  I continue to enjoy meeting with members of the Lamont community. More than half a dozen colleagues took advantage this week of the open door policy in my office, and another ten members of the community joined Art Lerner-Lam and me for today’s director’s lunch. Please drop by at your convenience. I am always eager to hear about new scientific findings.