Lamont Weekly Report, May 8, 2015


     The week began on a high note, with the announcement by the Seismological Society of America that Chris Scholz is to receive the 2015 Harry Fielding Reid Medal. The highest honor bestowed by the society, the Reid Medal is given no more than once per year for “outstanding contributions in earthquake seismology and earthquake engineering.” Past medalists have included Paul Richards and Lynn Sykes as well as former Lamont staff members Jim Brune, Jack Oliver, and Frank Press. Chris will receive his medal at next year’s SSA meeting. 

     The Geochemistry Division this week welcomed Ezazul Haque as a part-time Staff Associate. Ezazul is a graduate student at CUNY who is working on a master’s thesis in Environmental Public Health on the distribution of tungsten in groundwater, surface water, soils, and atmospheric aerosols near one of the world’s largest tungsten mines. While at Lamont, Ezazul will work with Ben Bostick.
     Geochemistry also welcomed Bob Finkel back to the campus for his annual visit. An expert on cosmogenic nuclides from the University of California, Berkeley, Bob will be on campus for five weeks. His host at Lamont is Joerg Schaefer.
     Also new to the campus this week is Postdoctoral Research Scientist Sjoerd Groeskamp, who will be working with Ryan Abernathey in Lamont’s Ocean and Climate Physics Division. Ryan writes, “Sjoerd joins us from the University of Tasmania, Australia, where he just completed his Ph.D. His thesis, entitled ‘Estimating diffusion coefficients from ocean hydrography,’ applied novel inverse methods to ocean circulation in thermodynamic coordinates. Here at Lamont, he will participate in a NASA-funded project to investigate water-mass transformation using a new generation of high-resolution satellite observations and models. He also plans to explore the analysis of ocean circulation in biogeochemical-tracer coordinates.”
     On Wednesday, Lamont’s and Columbia’s Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate hosted a day-long workshop in Lerner Hall on the Morningside Campus to provide “an interdisciplinary experience for participants interested in extreme weather and climate” ( The workshop featured 15 speakers from across many of the university’s schools and centers. Speakers from the Lamont Campus included Suzana Camargo, Richard Seager, and Adam Sobel from the Observatory, Marc Levy from CIESIN, and Ben Orlove, Jeff Shaman, and Michael Tippett, all affiliated with IRI.
     I spent Wednesday and Thursday this week at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, at a meeting hosted by Mark Wieczorek of the Science Team for the GRAIL spacecraft mission. Although the operational phase of that mission ended with its two spacecraft crashing onto the Moon in December 2012, the Science Team has continued to be supported by NASA to complete the lengthy analysis of the high-resolution lunar gravity field determined from spacecraft-to-spacecraft tracking. Others at IPGP are working on a long-period seismometer system for delivery to NASA’s InSight lander, scheduled to be launched to Mars next year.
     Kerstin Lehnert and the Integrated Earth Applications group will be hosting an EarthCube workshop at Lamont on Wednesday through Friday of next week on the topic of “Collaboration and cyberinfrastructure for paleogeoscience.” The workshop will focus on the development of leading practices and advancing the adoption and implementation of those practices, both in the short term and over longer timescales. Kerstin has invited all who are interested in attending the workshop to let her know by the end of this week.
     The May issue of More magazine contains an article by New York Times science reporter Claudia Dreifus on “15 extraordinary women of grit, heart and hope who are doing…” “nothing less than saving the world.” Among the 15 interviewed for the story are Robin Bell and Maureen Raymo, as well as Lamont alumna Heidi Cullen – now at Climate Central – and Elke Weber at the Earth Institute’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Only a teaser ( for the story is posted online; the full article appears only in the print edition.
     In The Huffington Post this past weekend is a piece penned by Peter deMenocal ( on the “innovation gap” between federal funding for research and the level of support needed to keep the U.S. the world leader in technical innovation, particularly on the science, impacts, and mitigation of climate change
     This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by environmental geochemist Katharine (Kate) Maher, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Stanford University ( Kate will be speaking on “Hydrologic regulation of the geologic carbon cycle.”
     After the Colloquium, the annual Research as Art exhibit will open in the Lamont Café. Organized by Kyle Frischkorn, Colin Raymond, Hannah Rabinowitz, and Maayan Yehudai, the exhibit will showcase the most gallery-worthy figures produced by Lamont researchers. Food, beer, wine, and other refreshments will be served, and discussions of the art (and the scientific research that produced it) will be encouraged.
I hope that you will be able to attend both of this afternoon’s events.