May 2024 Newsletter

the power of PLACE


Are you on the bus?

“You’re either on the bus or off the bus” – Ken Kesey, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “to be (part of something larger) or not to be (part of something larger), that is the question!”

Evolution is often defined by changes in genes, or changes in the information that is stored in our DNA. But evolutionary jumps, or “revolutions,” happen when there are changes in how information is stored. It’s one thing to switch from spinning records by John Coltrane to Ani DeFranco. It’s another to jump from listening to records to cassette players to DVDs and then to digital bits of information stored in the cloud. Both processes represent change. But the former represents evolving musical tastes and the latter a revolution in how we interact with music.

Mitochondria were once free-living single-celled organisms, possibly purple non-sulphur bacteria, that jumped on the bus of another early bacterial lineage, leading to the emergence of larger, more complex cells. Genetic material, or information, is found in multiple places in these cells, in organelles (such as the mitochondrial powerhouses of the cell) as well as in nuclei.

Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


Erik Hulm

Great things happen when we work together

Erik Hulm is one of those individuals who is often called upon to move projects forward. It’s what he does. He moves things forward. As implied in his title at RMBL, Director of Institutional Advancement, what he’s moving forward these days is RMBL.

He joined the staff in 2021 as a senior project manager. That was just when the Department of Energy’s SAIL (Surface Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory) campaign docked at RMBL to scale the heights and plumb the depths of atmosphere-through-bedrock research to understand mountainous water cycles using the East River Watershed as a model.

After a conversation with Ian Billick on the sidelines of a soccer field, it became clear that Erik was the right person to not only help with SAIL, but a host of other atmospheric projects coming into the valley to improve weather and water predictions in Colorado and beyond. Erik says, “It was like the Woodstock of atmospheric research.”