Lamont Weekly Report, May 29, 2015

This week marked the arrival of the Lamont Summer Interns, undergraduate students selected for an intensive 10-week research experience conducted on our campus under the supervision of a scientific mentor. A welcoming reception for the new interns was held yesterday on the lawn between the Seismology and Geoscience Buildings. 

     A total of 26 interns hail from 15 colleges and universities from around the country. In the hope that you will find the opportunity this summer to meet as many of this year’s interns as possible, here is a list of their names, their home institutions, and their Lamont mentors: 
Georgia Bolduc
Wade McGillis, Diana Hseuh
Parker Case
Columbia University
Allegra LeGrande, Kostas Tsigaridis
Dorothy Fang
Columbia University
Andrew Juhl
Kayla Farrell
Barnard College
Brian Mailloux, Tyler Ellis
Camera Ford
Brown University
Einat Lev
Karina Galinskaya
Brooklyn College
Dallas Abbott, Gary Mesko
Vincent Guarnaccia
Columbia University
Beizhan Yan
Mariana Guzman Marquez
Bowdoin College
Alexandra Bausch, Joaquim Goes
Thomas Harper
Indiana University of PA
Bill Menke
Allison Hooks
Columbia University
Frank Nitsche
Kevin Jackson
Lafayette College
Kevin Uno, Pratigya Polissa, Peter deMenocal
Christy Jenkins
Columbia University
Joaquim Goes, Helga Gomes
Omar Mahmood
Columbia University
Ryan Abernathy, Lorenzo Polvani
Kelsey Markey
Columbia University
Cheryl Palm, Stephen Wood
Sarah McGrath
College of Wooster
Allison Jacobel, Jerry McManus
Jennifer Olson
Columbia University
Yael Kiro, Steve Goldstein
Rebekeh Packer
Barnard College
Dorothy Peteet, Jonathan Nichols
Judy Pu
Bess Koffman, Cristina Recasens, Mike Kaplan, Sidney Hemming
Briana Ramirez
St. Mary's University
Heather Ford
Sarah Raney
Eckerd College
Kim Popendorf
Danielle Schimmenti
University of Miami
Jerry McManus, Adi Torfstein
Peter Skryzalin
Rutgers New Brunswick
Bill Menke
Jason Swann
Columbia University
Sam Phelps, Pratigya Polissar
Imari Walker Karega
University of California, Berkeley
William D'Andrea, Andrew Juhl
Anna Weiss
Oberlin College
Jonathan Nichols, Dorothy Peteet
John Wilding
Columbia University
Won-Young Kim
     Wally Broecker continues to collect honorary degrees. Yesterday he received one from Harvard University ( Nice work, Professor!
     A nicely written summary of the life and contributions of our late colleague Jim Simpson (, by freelance writer Renee Cho, was posted on the Lamont website this week. The piece appeared as well in Wednesday’s Nyack News & Views ( WAMC Northeast Public Radio carried the story the same day (
     At Thursday morning’s meeting of the Council of Deans, much of the time was devoted to a presentation on Columbia’s next capital campaign by Amelia Alverson, Executive Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations. The fundraising target will exceed the $6 billion target of Columbia’s most recently completed campaign, and planning for the initial “quiet phase” of the campaign is underway. That the topic of climate change will be one of several major focus areas ensures that Lamont will be an integral participant in campaign activities.
     Also on Thursday, I visited the R/V Langseth, docked at the Olivet Pier at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx and preparing for her next cruise. Joining me for the visit were Kathy Callahan, Dave Goldberg, Edie Miller, and Lori Nunemann, as well as Loftin Flowers and Nathan Robb from Columbia’s Office of Government and Community Affairs. Sean Higgins, Paul Ljunggren, and Robert Steinhaus gave us a thorough tour of the ship, the seismic instrumentation, and the science labs, and all of the upgrades and maintenance work this past winter and spring were clearly in evidence.
     Today I participated in a signing ceremony at Low Library for a NASA Space Act agreement between Goddard Space Flight Center and Columbia University. The agreement lays out the elements of a new partnering arrangement between Columbia and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Other participants from Columbia included Provost John Coatsworth, Executive Vice President for Research Mike Purdy, Earth Institute Executive Director Steve Cohen, and Adrian Hill, Executive Director for University Research Planning and Development. GISS was represented by Director and Deputy Director Gavin Schmidt and Ron Miller, and the Goddard Space Flight Center was represented by Director Chris Scolese; Director and Deputy Director of the center’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate Colleen Hartman and Piers Sellers; and Chief of Staff Terri Thompson. Following a lunch after the ceremony, the NASA delegation was given a tour of the Manhattanville Campus.
    On our own campus, a volley of e-mail exchanges has drawn attention to our population of snapping turtles and their vulnerability to local automobile traffic. Jean Hanely transported one of our turtle residents to a local animal hospital after an incident with a vehicle, but unfortunately it did not survive, further spurring the need for increased awareness. Roseanne Schwartz, Elisabeth Sydor, Jamie Ross, and Dannie Dinh set out traffic cones and handmade signs on Thursday, and Kim Schermerhorn brought two professional signs today to alert visitors and remind the rest of us of the need for driver vigilance. Pat O’Reilly contacted the company that operates our shuttle bus service to inform the drivers of known turtle crossings.
     The research of several Lamont scientists has been highlighted in recent news reports. A lengthy article last week in Medill Reports Chicago describes the work of Mike Kaplan, Joerg Schaefer, and Gisela Winckler on the waxing and waning of Antarctic ice sheets during past changes in climate ( A VICE News story on Tuesday quoted Bob Newton and Stephanie Pfirman on the effect of climate change on Arctic sea ice ( And Park Williams spoke yesterday about megadroughts on “The Academic Minute” on WAMC Northeast Public Radio (
     In the rest of the world this week, extreme weather events – from the deadly heat wave in India ( to the unusually high rainfall and severe flooding in Texas and Oklahoma ( – remind us of the critical importance of improving our understanding of the workings of our planet. And after a weekend respite, may we all turn back toward that goal on Monday.