“I grew up wanting to be Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
Best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109.
While those discoveries have captured the imagination of the public, Dr. Ballard believes his most important discoveries where of hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979 along with their exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now called chemosynthesis.
In addition to being a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Ballard is the founder and president of the Institute for Exploration (IFE) in Mystic, CT.
Robert Ballard was born June 30, 1942, in Wichita, KS but moved to California at a very young age and grew up exploring the shore in San Diego. Dr. Ballard has a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island. He spent 30 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he helped develop telecommunications technology to create “tele-presence” for his JASON Project, which allows hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe each year. In 2001, he returned to the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where he is presently a tenured professor of Oceanography and director of the Center for Ocean Exploration and Archaeological Oceanography.
Dr. Ballard has 21 honorary degrees and six military awards. He was also a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the Navy from 1967 to 1997. He received the National Geographic Society’s prestigious Hubbard Medal in 1996 for “extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the world’s oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science.” Dr. Ballard has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine. Dr. Ballard also has been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking Secrets of the Titanic.
His discoveries also include sunken remains of ships along ancient trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea; two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel, the oldest shipwrecks ever found in deep water; and four 1,500-year-old wooden ships, one almost perfectly preserved in the Black Sea. Dr. Ballard’s Black Sea project seeks evidence of a great flood that may have struck the region thousands of years ago.
His 1997 best-selling book, Lost Liners, tells the story of the great transatlantic liners through memorable wrecks he has visited. Dr. Ballard was also a special advisor on Steven Spielberg’s futuristic Sea Quest, DSV television show.
An explorer, motivational speaker, discoverer and historian, Dr. Robert Ballard’s fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.
Adventures in Deep Sea Exploration: Living the Dream. Dr. Robert Ballard, President of the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut and Director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, is best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic. Ballard is now using advanced technology to create a new field of research in deep water archaeology. At the Institute for Exploration's Challenge of the Deep exhibit hall, as well as with his Jason Foundation for Education, Ballard hopes to inspire young people to pursue learning in science, math, and technology through exploration and discovery. This past summer he used satellite and internet technologies to bring thousands of students around the world into direct contact with his team while on location in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
In his talk, through the use of stunning high quality images and personal accounts, Dr. Ballard will present his most recent work in deep water archaeology and the technology of tele-presence. He discusses motivating people to think outside the box, learning how to deal with failure-that failure is just a step along the way to success, motivating children to choose careers in math, science and engineering; and how to live your dream. Ballard is a dynamic speaker who will have your audience on the edge of their seats wanting to start a whole new career in exploration!
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