Lamont Awards

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory recognizes exceptional achievements with a variety of awards for researchers and staff:

Director's Award for Outstanding Research Performance

As part of the annual merit review process, the Associate Directors of the Research Divisions and the Chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are encouraged to identify and nominate to the Director an individual who has displayed exceptional levels of performance throughout the previous year.

The awardee must display truly exceptional performance in both of the following areas:

  • Research productivity as measured by the significance and impact of research papers published in peer-reviewed journals.  
  • Leadership and community service as measured by participation in National and Observatory research initiatives and activities, and mentoring of students and junior colleagues.

The awardee must be clearly separated from the best of their colleagues in terms of the factors described above.

All members of the Junior and Senior staff of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are eligible.

This is a $10,000 cash award. The awardee is selected by the Director in consultation with the Associate Directors. The award will not necessarily be given every year. Except in truly exceptional circumstances only one award will be given.

Director's Award Recipients

Excellence in Mentoring Award

This award recognizes the importance of quality mentoring (science, technical or administrative), which benefits the institution as a whole, its junior members, and the mentors themselves.

As of 2019 there will be two awards: i) Scientific mentoring; and ii) Technical/administrative mentoring. Each award recipient will receive a $2,000 cash prize and a certificate. The recipient's name will be engraved on a plaque to be displayed at the Observatory.

The sole criterion for the award is excellence in mentoring. The following are just some of the qualities that can contribute to good mentoring. A candidate need not have all of these qualities to be considered an excellent mentor.

  • provides intellectual leadership, by acting as an advisor or guide in research
  • develops an effective environment for research and scholarship
  • fosters the development of talents, for example research skills, teaching ability, presentation and writing skills, time management skills or the preparation of grant and fellowship applications
  • fosters the development of technical skills and provides crucial support and guidance for acquiring expertise in a specialized research environment, such as the laboratory, in the field, and on research cruises, etc.
  • acts as a successful professional role model
  • acts as an advocate and guide in administrative matters
  • promotes young scientists within the broader research community and helps young scientists develop a network of professional colleagues
  • advises young scientists regarding career options, including both academic and alternative career choices, and alerts young scientists to opportunities to enrich their careers
  • is supportive on both a professional and personal level
  • involves young scientists in the full range of the scientific process, from defining a problem to reporting results

Nominators should submit a letter of nomination (not to exceed 2 pages) describing how the nominee has been instrumental in supporting, encouraging, and promoting their professional development. Nominators are encouraged to cite as many specific examples as possible. Renominations are encouraged.

Nominators are encouraged to solicit letters in support of the nomination from individuals who have been directly mentored by the nominee within the last two years.  The nominator may also solicit letters of support from persons outside Lamont, who, within the past two years, were mentored by the nominee at Lamont. 

Letters of support should not exceed 2 pages each. Letters of support containing substantive statements about the nominee's mentoring abilities and style (see section I) will be most helpful to the selection committee. Letters of support are not required for full consideration of a nominee, but will likely strengthen his or her case. Note: In order to protect privacy and confidentiality, individual letters for each nominee must be submitted by the letter writer directly to the committee, and not as part of a larger dossier.

All materials will be confidential. The selection committee will evaluate the submitted letters and provide the Directorate with a recommendation of one individual in each category to receive the award. The top three nominees will be recognized at the award ceremony.

All members of LDEO, IRI, and CIESIN, with at least 5 years of service (not including time as a graduate student) are eligible for the award. Past recipients of the award are eligible for re-nomination after 5 years.

All members of LDEO, IRI, and CIESIN  may submit nominations. Nominations may also be submitted by persons outside of these units who were members of these units within the past two years. Further, nominations may be submitted by individuals from related CU departments - e.g., Barnard, APAM, E3B, EEE - if they were mentored by a member of LDEO, IRI, or CIESIN. The nominator must have been directly mentored by the nominee, but the nominee need not be the nominator's principal mentor. Each person may submit one nomination per year. There is no limit on the number of supporting letters an individual may submit.

Letters of nomination and letters of support will be kept on file for at least one year. If re-nominated, letters of support will be reused by default unless withdrawn or replaced by the author. Further, if an individual is re-nominated more than once, the committee will review the three most recent nomination dossiers for that individual in the last five years.

Members of the selection committee may not submit nominations or supporting letters and are ineligible for the award during their time of service on the committee.

The committee will evaluate the letters of nominations and the nominating and supporting letters.

The committee will provide the Director's Office with a recommendation of one individual to receive the Excellence in Mentoring Award. The award will be presented at a ceremony.

In addition to recommending an award recipient to the Observatory Director, the selection committee will also:

  • consider mentoring at the Observatory in a broad sense, and make recommendations to the Director about how to improve mentoring;
  • plan an event that highlights the importance of mentoring to accompany the award ceremony;
  • recommend to the Observatory Director new committee members for the following year.

2022 Membership

The Assistant Director of Academic Affairs and Diversity is a non-voting ex-officio member of the committee.

In years when award recipients from the previous two years are not available to serve on the selection committee, these positions will be filled by Observatory Director.

In years when appropriate, the committee will add members from the technical and/or administrative staff.

Committee members will be asked to serve for a term of two or three years, at the discretion of the Observatory Director.

Jardetzky Lecture

The Jardetzky lecture in geophysics honors the late Wenceslas S. Jardetzky, a renowned researcher and educator whose flourishing scientific career in Europe was halted by World War II and revived after he emigrated to the United States. From 1949 until his death in 1962, he was a research associate at Lamont-Doherty, where he collaborated with Frank Press, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Maurice Ewing, Lamont-Doherty's founder, on a well-known and widely used scientific book, Elastic Waves in Layered Media.

Dr. Jardetzky's broad scope of scientific interests also included celestial mechanics, fluid dynamics, theoretical physics, seismology, and the migration of the poles. A principal contribution to science was his mathematical theory on zonal rotation, which provided a mechanism for the migration of continents.

The Jardetzky lecture was established in 1992 by Dr. Jardetzky's son Oleg, who was the founder of the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory and professor of molecular pharmacology at Stanford University. In endowing the lectureship, Dr. Jardetzky said he hoped it would "help enrich the outstanding tradition of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which provided a much cherished intellectual home to my father after he emigrated to this country."

Lamont Heritage Award

The Lamont-Doherty Heritage Award is bestowed on staff or students of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory whose work has helped shape the future of the Observatory and has contributed profoundly to its position as a world leader in research to understand the Earth.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has a distinguished history of scientific discovery. Numerous organizations have honored the achievements of these scientists, but unfortunately the institution which trained and sustained them has not. To remedy this oversight, the Observatory has created the Lamont Heritage Award. The first recipient is Marie Tharp, the pioneering mapper of the seafloor.

Past awardees:

Date: 2001
Awardee: Marie Tharp

Storke-Doherty Lectureship

The Storke-Doherty Lectureship is a four-year term award made jointly by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The Lectureship is awarded annually, subject to the availability of funds and qualifying candidates, to an individual selected from among the pool of eligible candidates on the basis of outstanding scientific merit and potential.

Privileges and Responsibilities
Appointment to the Storke-Doherty Lectureship carries the Salary Support Plan that accompanies appointment to Doherty Associate Research Scientist (3 months per year), and in addition provides the awardee with 6 months of salary per year for the four-year term. Storke-Doherty Lecturers are full-time employees of Columbia University and are expected to raise the remainder of their salary from other sources.
The Storke-Doherty Lecturer holds a term faculty appointment, and participates as a non-visiting member in regular faculty meetings. The award normally carries the responsibility of teaching a University lecture course, or the equivalent, every other year. The course selection requires the approval of the Faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Eligible candidates are all Postdoctoral Fellows, Postdoctoral Research Scientists, Associate Research Scientists, and Doherty Associate Research Scientists who have not yet reached the fourth anniversary of the award of their Ph.D. (or equivalent), and who joined LDEO during the two calendar years prior to the start of the award process.

Selection Process
Storke-Doherty Lecturers are selected by the LDEO Director and the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, based upon recommendations from the Storke-Doherty Lecture Committee. The Storke-Doherty Committee comprises 6 members of the Doherty Research Staff.

The Chair of the Storke-Doherty Committee identifies the eligible candidates and sends the list to the other members of the Committee, by National Election Day (early November), for information and correction. By Thanksgiving, the Chair solicits from those eligible (and who wish to be considered) a CV, a statement of research interests that should include a brief outline of funding strategies, and copy of their best paper, and a statement of teaching interests. The Committee reviews this material, and produces a rank list of candidates by the beginning of the spring semester.

Documents provided by the candidates (not letters from sponsors) form the basis for ranking candidates. The rank list of candidates prepared by the Storke-Doherty Committee is reported to the Director and to the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Either the Director, the Chair, or both, may request once that the Committee reconsider the composition and/or rank order of their list. The rank listing resulting from such reconsideration will then be final. If the Director and/or the Chair are unable to endorse this list, then no award will be made in that cycle. Otherwise, the awards will be made to the highest person on the rank list who accepts the offer.

Review will be the same as for all persons holding the rank of Doherty Associate Research Scientist.