Lamont Weekly Report, December 12, 2008

Well, the Campus Life Committee was right, again. Last Friday's Holiday party was one of the best attended and most enjoyable events in years.  I thought it was scheduled way too early, but I was wrong -  I think everyone had a great time and thank you to the many folks who helped organize it.

It was sad to say goodbye to Karen Bocsusis on Tuesday, as she leaves  us for a well deserved retirement, after over three decades of loyal  service to several generations of Lamonters. It was the week for  'goodbye' parties: the Geochemistry Division is losing two of its great junior scientists - Katherina Pahnke who is chasing the sun to the University of Hawaii, and Meredith Kelly who will chase the snow  to Dartmouth College up in New Hampshire.

We suffered a great disappointment when the Senate Academic Affairs committee had to postpone its meeting at Lamont - previously planned for today. Discussion of the Lamont Research Professor plan was to be the primary agenda item. It will be rescheduled in January.

And now an important announcement about the Marine Office:

Lamont's research vessel R/V Marcus G. Langseth recently completed her highly successful first year of research operations, and is presently alongside in Astoria Ore and early next week will head west across the Pacific to begin a busy program of research cruises through 2009.

As we complete the transition from shipyard work and refitting to routine science operations it is appropriate to review the leadership of the Office of Marine Operations.  For the past several years I have been playing the role of Associate Director for Marine Operations as well as serving as the Director of Lamont. Paul Ljunggren has been leading the office operations on a day-to-day basis with Al Walsh leading the engineering and technical side. The complexity of the  
Langseth operations combined with an operating environment made difficult by both funding shortfalls and increasingly stringent environmental regulations requires that we strengthen the administration and management of OMO.  As the work load associated with winning University approval for Lamont's vitally important research Professor initiative increases, it is clear that I cannot play the leadership role within OMO that is necessary.

Therefore I have turned to one of Lamont's most accomplished research leaders, David Goldberg, and asked that he take on an additional role within the Observatory. David has led our Borehole Research Group for  more than 15 years and is highly respected nationally and internationally for the skill he has displayed in successfully leading this group, as the Ocean Drilling Program has evolved and changed.  David will remain in his position as Director of BRG, but as the drill  
ship JOIDES Resolution prepares to commence routine operations and because of the experience and quality of his staff within BRG, he will be able to devote a portion of his time to this new role within the Marine Department.

In January, as the schedule for JOIDES Resolution operations in 2009 becomes certain I will appoint David as Interim Associate Director for  Marine Operations. In this capacity, I have asked David to review the  structure, management and operations of OMO and make recommendations to me as soon as possible concerning how improvements can be made.

It must be emphasized that the success of BRG is fundamental to the health of the Observatory. We shall monitor the situation carefully and will insure that the assignment of these additional  responsibilities to David does not in any way threaten the important success that BRG has enjoyed over the past 15 years and more.

I head out to San Francisco on Saturday and have a crazy schedule of  meetings - too few of which are science related - through the whole week.  Hope to see many of you at our Alumni party on Tuesday evening - same place as always - but they have changed the name of the hotel - it is now called the Hotel 480,  480 Sutter Street..  It is at 630pm  in the Savoy room.

If you are traveling west have a safe trip,

And anyway, have a great weekend,

- Mike