Lamont Weekly Report, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day:

A short week, beginning with an untold number of backyard barbecues and the ingestion of great-tasting carcinogens. The unofficial kick-off of summer sometimes obscures a greater message: the recognition that our lives and prosperity are built on the sacrifices of neighbors and friends, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. Some of our colleagues here at Lamont are veterans, and others may have felt immeasurable loss.  The historic clarities of war may have morphed into something else, but there is nothing opaque about the sacrifices made by servicemen and servicewomen.

Tundra night lights:

Natalie Boelman is up near the Brooks Range looking at the effects of climate change on these fragile ecosystems. The Times has selected Natalie's blog for its "Scientist at Work: Notes from the field" series. This is actually very competitive, and it's significant that Natalie has been chosen. Her blog is available here:

Take a look!

Summertime, and the livin' is easy:

I wasn't able to get to the welcoming party for the summer interns on Wednesday, but I heard it went well. The arrival of the interns is as much a harbinger of summer as is the first heat wave. Dallas Abbott and her colleagues have assembled yet another great class of wonderfully bright and eager undergraduates. Over the years we've seen increases in class size, and more of the interns preparing reports for professional meetings and/or publications. It's a Herculean task to
keep this program at the forefront, and Dallas really deserves the lion's share of the credit. (Full disclosure: I was a summer intern in '74, but I think we called it a "job" back then.)

Low and behold:

I'm spending this afternoon in Low participating in the quarterly report to senior University leadership on our response to the Langseth business systems review. We are in the "home stretch" and we expect to present our final report to NSF in late August. I mention this because the "BSR" has led to a re-examination of our administrative procedures, and a re-evaluation of our administrative support, going well beyond the operation of the Langseth. Some of this is good, and
overdue. Frankly, some of this could be perceived as overbearing or unnecessary. Most of this is driven by external accountability, to Low and to NSF. My intention is to work with OMG and Excom, as well as our Administration, to develop the administrative support needed to maintain and enhance our scientific productivity. I will have more to say about
this in the coming weeks.