Lamont Weekly Report, March 20, 2009

I was driving back from Morningside early on Thursday afternoon, with the Leonard Lopate Show on NPR on the background, when I noticed that every sentence that the interviewee spoke in response to Leonard's questions began with the two words "Kelemen says".  Needless to say this attracted my attention after a while, and I turned up the volume
to find that a fellow by the name of Tim Folger was being interviewed.

He wrote a piece for NRDC's magazine 'On Earth' about Peter Kelemen's ideas on using the peridotites in Oman to take CO2 out of the atmosphere - based upon Peter's publication in PNAS last year. It was a good piece - about nine minutes long - but sadly - as far as I heard, Lamont was not mentioned.

Last Sunday was our first Spring public lecture of the year. We had a very good audience with very good questions for Mark Studinger's remarkable account of the recent Lamont-led international expedition to Antarctica - a wonderful account of technical accomplishment and great discoveries embedded in a story of adventure and survival under incredibly tough conditions. Our next Public Lecture is a week on Sunday - March 29th - when Dorothy Peteet will talk about the 7000
year long archive of climate change that is Piermont Marsh.

Although the financial state of the world makes it difficult to close gifts from private donors, it does not mean that our efforts in Development should slow down.  We are continuing efforts to build relationships and make new friends and increase Lamont's minimal visibility.  One of the challenges for us, working in academic research, is the complexity of the "message" that we try to transmit.  Other fund-raising entities - in fact most other fund-raising entities - have a much simpler message. The breadth and complexity of all we do resists compression to one catch phrase that is both accurate and compelling.  But nevertheless we need to find a way of grabbing people's attention with less than ten words. Perhaps what we need is a "set" of "sound bites" - different ones to be used under different circumstances, in different Development materials - accepting the fact that no single phrase covers everything we do. So... this is a challenge. I ask everyone to think like Madison Avenue marketers and think of how you could describe one aspect of what we do (or the
results of what we do) in one short compelling buzz-phrase - that would so grip the imagination of your average wealthy individual, that they would feel compelled to learn more about us and give us money!

If you have any good ideas, send them to Barb Charbonnet (bcharb@etc) - and if there any good ones we will discuss them at our next Advisory Board Meeting in April for possible inclusion in our next round of fund-raising literature.

We sent in our first big proposal for Stimulus money today - only an internal request to CU trying to get approval for submission to NIH - for infrastructure - building renovations in support of Steve Chillrud, Lex van Geen and Beizhan Yan's NIH funded efforts.  I hope we will succeed, and I hope it will be the first of many. There is no question that we need to be stimulated.

A definite layer of snow this morning, and now a beautiful blue sky - I am getting confused, meteorologically-speaking.

Have a great weekend,