Chilean president Michelle Bachelet recently toured the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth, which is operated by Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, as it docked in the port city of Valparaíso. The ship was on a months-long voyage to assess the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis along the western coast of South America. Bachelet, a physician who in 2012 gave the Commencement address at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, inspected the ship’s high-tech control room and met with researchers to better understand its mission. She learned about how teams of American and Chilean scientists aboard the ship are studying the vibrations of an underwater continental shelf in hopes of predicting its future movements.
“This project represents a milestone in collaboration between scientists in our country and those of Columbia University,” said Karen Poniachik ’90SIPA, a Chilean journalist and former government minister who directs the Columbia Global Center in Santiago and who took part in the tour. “In addition to bringing us together to face the threats of earthquakes and tsunamis, it creates ties of medium- and long-term academic cooperation, which will result in more programs, exchanges, and joint research.”