Lamont Weekly Report, October 19, 2012


      That I’ve been away from the Observatory for four of the last five days has not diminished this week’s news. 

      On Monday, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced that Tiffany Shaw is one of 16 recipients this year of a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering ( Each Packard Fellow receives an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years. Nominations for fellowships are solicited from the Presidents of 50 universities, each of whom may submit no more than two nominations, so the awards are extremely competitive. A champagne reception to toast Tiffany’s award will be held at 3:30 pm on Monday in the Monell lower lobby.
     Early this week, the American Geophysical Union announced the results of this fall’s elections for positions on the AGU Council ( Among the new Council members next calendar year will be Robin Bell, incoming President-Elect of the Cryosphere Sciences Focus Group, and Kerstin Lehnert, incoming President-Elect of the Earth and Space Science Informatics Focus Group. Please join me in congratulating Robin and Kerstin on their new leadership roles.
      On Thursday, you should have received an invitation to the next W. S. Jardetzky Lecture, to be given on 2 November by Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University. The Jardetzky Lecture Series was established 20 years ago by Prof. Oleg Jardetzky of Stanford University in honor of his father, who contributed substantially to work at Lamont in seismic wave propagation as well as other topics in theoretical geophysics and applied mathematics. Last year, Prof. Jardetzky commissioned the production of medallions to be presented to all Jardetzky Lecturers past and future, and the 15 living former Jardetzky Lecturers were each invited to receive their medal in a ceremony that will precede Prof. Mosley-Thompson’s lecture. Five former lecturers have agreed to attend (Penny Chisholm, John Delaney, Don Forsyth, Alan Levander, and one other who will be on hand to preside), so the occasion should be of broad interest across the Lamont community.
      Next week’s Earth Science Colloquium will feature Hali Felt, the author of Soundings, The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor. This recently published biography of Marie Tharp offers an illuminating view of the early history of Lamont and the career barriers for a woman in Earth science in the mid twentieth century, so I hope that you will join me next Friday to hear what promises to be a special lecture.
      I’m writing from Reno, Nevada, where I’ve been attending the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. Just as at any scientific conference, hallway conversations here are full of discussions on the most recent research findings and variously well-informed predictions on future prospects for programs at federal science agencies. It will be good to return home.