Lamont Weekly Report, January 11, 2013

   The week has been filled with good news.
   On Monday, word came from the International Association for the Physical Sciences in the Ocean (IAPSO) that Arnold Gordon is to receive the association’s Prince Albert I Medal for 2013. The medal, named for prince of Monaco who was the founding president of the organization from which IAPSO evolved, is awarded once every two years. Only the seventh recipient of this medal, Arnold was cited “for his outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the general circulation of the ocean and especially for his studies of the Southern Ocean and inter-ocean exchange.” The medal will be awarded at the next IAPSO General Assembly, to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July.
   Also on Monday, DEES chair Peter deMenocal announced the winners of the Graduate Student Research Awards for last fall. Angelica Patterson is the winner of the Jim Hays award for $2,000 for her project on "Temperature tolerance of the physiological processes controlling carbon gain in northeastern forests." John Templeton and Marc VanKueren each received a Paul Richards award for $4,000. John’s project is on "Low-temperature thermochronology: Post-Devonian vertical fault movements and constrain erosional and tectonic unroofing in the Nordfjord area, Norway," and Marc’s is on "Testing applications of tephrochronology by the Ar isotope system."  Our congratulations go to all three.
   On Wednesday, Robin Bell, Nick Frearson, and Chris Zappa and their team gave me a tour of the new icePod unit, with its visible, infrared, and radar imaging systems designed to monitor the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of polar ice sheets. Delivered last week and now in Lamont’s Machine Shop for integration and testing, the unit will be shipped in two weeks to the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard unit in Schenectady for flight tests on an LC-130 aircraft. The icePod unit is scheduled to be installed on an LC-130 that will be carrying out routine servicing flights over the Greenland ice sheet in April.
   Also on Wednesday, Camille Li arrived at Lamont for a three-month visit as a Marie Tharp Fellow. An atmospheric dynamicist with a 2007 Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Camille is an Associate Research Scientist at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bergen. During her stay at Lamont, she plans to work on the role of sea ice in major transitions in climate states on orbital to millennial timescales, in collaboration with Sid Hemming, Doug Martinson, Bob Newton, and others.
   A fringe benefit of Camille’s Tharp fellowship was the coincident arrival Wednesday of her seismologist spouse, Stéphane Rondenay, an Associate Professor in the University of Bergen’s Department of Earth Science. Rondenay, who applies innovative imaging methods to study the high-resolution structure of subduction zones and seismic source regions, will be renewing collaborations with Geoff Abers and others at Lamont during a three-week visit.
   Many of you will remember that Prof. Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, was scheduled to visit Lamont and deliver the Wenceslas S. Jardetzky Lecture during the first week of November, but the event had to be postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. This week we were pleased to announce that Prof. Mosley-Thompson’s lecture, on “Past and contemporary climate change: Evidence from Earth’s ice cover,” has been rescheduled for Friday, 5 April. Once again, all past Jardetzky Lecturers have been invited to the lecture and to a ceremony and reception that will follow. Please mark your calendars for this important event.
   On Thursday morning I attended the monthly meeting of the Council of Deans. The principal agenda topic was an ongoing analysis of the university’s faculty housing assistance program. An anticipated shortfall in the availability of university apartments over the coming decade has prompted an examination of a range of possible additions and modifications to the program that would enhance program flexibility and increase options for participants.
   More than 160 applications have been received for postdoctoral fellow positions at the Observatory to begin next academic year. Selection committees have already begun the evaluation process, but the entire scientific staff is encouraged to look over the applications and offer timely advice on the most promising candidates.
   Today I am off campus to celebrate the 4th birthday of a grandson. Milestones such as these remind me lately that, of all those with whom we share this world, it is my grandchildren’s generation who will be most affected by what we at Lamont learn about the workings of our planet. There is little time to waste.