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Ebel Hands Weston Observatory Baton to Kafka

09/05/13

By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: Sept. 5, 2013

The 2013-14 academic year sees a change in leadership in one of Boston College’s most distinguished scientific facilities, with Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences John Ebel stepping down as director of the University’s Weston Observatory after 20 years and assuming the post of Earth and Environmental Sciences chairman.

Associate Professor Alan Kafka is the new director of the observatory, which monitors seismological activity throughout New England and beyond.

One of the world’s foremost experts on earthquakes and seismology, Ebel — who replaces Associate Professor Gail Kineke as chair of the department — said he’s looking forward leading the department as it navigates the next phase of its development. The department has approximately 16 faculty members and has seen the number of EES majors nearly double to between 70 to 80 students annually.

“I think the department is at a real exciting point in its evolution,” said Ebel, now in his 33rd year at BC. “We’ve gotten involved in environmental studies and environmental geoscience in a big way. We have some very good young faculty on the geology side of the department who are coming on board. The University is allowing us to grow a bit, which is great.”