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 were 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 2008, Dr. Ballard founded the Ocean Exploration Trust and acquired his present ship of exploration, EV Nautilus, which will begin a voyage around the world in 2013 with his Corps of Exploration. In addition, Dr. Ballard is a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. He is also a Senior Scientist Emeritus in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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 education initiative, 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. Robert Ballard | President Ocean Exploration Trust
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
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.
Dr. Ballard has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine. He has also been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking “Secrets of the Titanic” and a more recent 5-part mini-series, “Alien Deep with Bob Ballard.” 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, discoverer and historian, Dr. 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 Ballard relates his experiences, successes and failures, in an energetic presentation that highlights career first such as the discovery of the RMS Titanic, WWII battleships such as the Yorktown and PT-109, and ancient Roman shipwreck in the Black Sea. He focuses on the changes in technology from manned submersibles to underwater robotic vehicles, and he discusses educational opportunities for alternative education and after school programs via “telepresence” connecting students directly to the scientists on-board ship during expeditions.
Human History Under Water
From perfectly preserved wooden ships lying on the bottom of the Black Sea, to historically significant ships like the Titanic and PT-109, explorer Robert Ballard’s discoveries add to the knowledge of our past.
The Last Great Frontier
In this visually gripping presentation, explorer speaker Robert Ballard shares his passion for the last great uncharted territory. Working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Ballard uses cutting-edge science and technology to explore the ocean’s depths in order to better understand and preserve our waters for the generations that follow.
The Personal Account of How the Titanic Was Found and a Look into the Future
Dr. Ballard shares his incredible story of the significant discovery of the Titanic, the advanced technology he used for this world famous expedition and what’s the future holds for deep sea exploration.
Travels from: Connecticut
Speaking fee: On request