congrats bro

We're told that each new appointment comes with a big, shiny trophy.

In the last 24 hours, Columbia has seen its fair share of movers and shakers—and not just the literal ones huddled around Alma’s throne last night.

Sean C. Solomon was chosen to be director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, according to an email from PrezBo and Coatsworth.  Dr. Solomon was the leader of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism until last year and served as principal investigator for Carnegie’s participation in the NASA Astrobiology Institute.  In other words, he’s a great resource for that Planet Earth paper.

Meanwhile, last night ABC e-board elections happened.  Saketh Kalathur CC ’13 was elected president, Julian Richardson CC’14 VP, Chloe Ruan SEAS’13 as treasurer, and Rui Yu CC’14 as secretary.

According to a tipster, ABC Representative positions are open to all CC and SEAS students. The application is due on Sunday with elections at Town Hall next Tuesday. For more information email

Dear Fellow Members of the Columbia Community:

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Sean C. Solomon, a geophysicist of international stature, as director of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  Dr. Solomon is recognized for his successful leadership of several major NASA missions, including as principal investigator of the agency’s current exploration of the planet Mercury, as well as his studies of mid-ocean ridges and the earth’s deep subsurface.  The combination of Dr. Solomon’s distinguished record, the special resources of Lamont-Doherty and the University’s Earth Institute, and current opportunities for progress in the earth sciences promises for an exciting and productive new chapter of scientific discovery at Columbia.

For more than half a century, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been a unique part of Columbia, providing pioneering research on geophysical science and climate change.  As part of the University’s Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty is a key contributor to the multidisciplinary conversation across our campuses on sustainable development locally and globally.  An increasing number of graduate and undergraduate students participate in Lamont-Doherty research from the Arctic to Africa, and from the campus on the Hudson palisades to the research vessel Marcus Langseth, which the University manages for the National Science Foundation.

A reflection of Lamont-Doherty’s importance to Columbia’s scientific mission is the fact that its longtime director, Michael Purdy, last year became the University’s executive vice president for research.  We are delighted that, with the appointment of Sean Solomon, Lamont-Doherty will continue to benefit from the leadership of a director with such deep scientific expertise and management experience.

Dr. Solomon headed the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism until last year and served as principal investigator for Carnegie’s participation in the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which seeks to understand the origin of life on earth and its potential to exist elsewhere.  From 1996 to 1998, he was president of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization of earth and space scientists.  He received his Ph.D. in geophysics from MIT and for two decades was a faculty member there.  Dr. Solomon is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of numerous awards.  Since 2004, he has served on the external advisory board of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

We want to thank Art Lerner-Lam, one of Columbia’s most respected scientists, for serving these past months as interim director of Lamont-Doherty.  Art will be returning his full attention to his research and scholarship in the field of earth and environmental science, as well as being a trusted, expert voice in explaining major events like earthquakes to a wider public.

Columbia always has been committed to applying its resources and scientific expertise to the most urgent issues facing society, with the scope of this concern growing over our history to encompass the entire globe.  Sean Solomon is extraordinarily well prepared to help us build on this proud tradition.  Please join us in welcoming him to Columbia University and wishing him great success as director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


Lee C. Bollinger

John H. Coatsworth

Champion via Wikimedia Commons