Discoverer of the R.M.S. Titanic to Speak at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

University of Hawaiʻi
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Posted: Jan 29, 2001

HONOLULU- Dr. Robert Ballard, preeminent marine scientist and explorerand the discoverer of the R.M.S. Titanic, will be the guest speakerfor the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr.Ballad will present a free public lecture on Friday, February 9, 2001at 7 p.m. in the UH Campus Center Ballroom. His talk, "Deep SeaExploration," will chronicle the history of this field and highlightseveral of Dr. Ballard's significant contributions.

Ballard is in Hawai'i to lead this year's JASON Project, JASON XII,Hawai'i, A Living Laboratory. He is leading students, teachers and scientistson an expedition to Hawaii to explore its isolated islands that offer oneof the best representations of Earth's geologic and biologic forces. FromJanuary 28 through February 9, JASON will broadcast live from Hawai'i toover 750,000 students and teachers using the latest satellite and Internettechnology.

Ballard is committed to exploring the least-known portions of our planet-theregions that lie under water. According to Dr. Ballard, "We are inthe Lewis-and-Clark stage of exploration of these regions." He comparesviewing the ocean floor with walking on the moon. In the more than 20 yearsof exploration, Ballard has seen more of the ocean floor than anyone alive.

Ballard founded the JASON Project in 1989 after receiving thousands ofletters from school children wanting to know how he discovered the R.M.S.Titanic. The mission of the JASON Foundation for Education, foundedin 1990 to administer the program, is to excite and engage students in scienceand technology and to motivate and provide professional development fortheir teachers.

Ballard received his undergraduate degree in geology and chemistry fromthe University of California and attended graduate school at the Universityof Southern California, the University of Hawai'i's Graduate School of Oceanography,and received his Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the Universityof Rhode Island. He is a distinguished military graduate of the Universityof California with a Commission in Army Intelligence. His Commission waslater transferred to the U.S. Navy and during the Vietnam War, Ballard servedon active duty as an Ensign, Lt. J.G., and finally as a Lieutenant. Ballardalso joined the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Commander.

Ballard has led or participated in more than 100 deep-sea expeditionsincluding the use of the deep-sea diving submersibles ALVIN, ARCHIMEDE,TRIESTE II, TURTLE, BEN FRANKLIN, CYANA and NR-1. These expeditions includedthe first manned exploration of the Mid-Ocean Ridge and the discovery ofthe German battleship Bismarck; 11 warships from the lost fleet ofGuadalcanal; and exploration of the luxury liner Lusitania.

Ballard has published over 50 scientific articles in journals such asScience, Nature, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, and the Journalof Geophysical Research. He received the Newcomb-Cleveland award fromthe American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for an articlehe co-authored in Science, detailing the discovery of high temperaturevent fields in the East Pacific Rise. Ballard has also written many populararticles for the general public, including ten articles in National Geographicmagazine. He has also written bestseller books on his discoveries of theR.M.S. Titanic, Bismarck and the Lusitania. His latest book,The Eternal Darkness, was published in 1999.

Ballard also has participated in the production of numerous televisionprograms for the BBC, Open University, National Geographic Educational Films,Nippon Television, German Television, the Office of Naval Research, theNational Science Foundation, Public Television, Walter Cronkite's Universeand several National Geographic television specials. From 1989 to 1991,he hosted National Geographic EXPLORER, a program shown weekly on TBS. Hewas also a technical advisor on "seaQuest DSV" during its premiereseason in 1993.

The University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Distinguished Lecture Series wasinaugurated in 1998. In past years, the Series has brought such notablesas novelist Michael Ondaatje, astronomer Sir Martin Rees, and most recently,Anna Devere Smith to appearances before standing-room-only audiences. Scheduledto appear this April, is noted cultural theorist and geographer David Harvey.

For further information, including questions about disability access,call 956-9405. Sign language interpretation will be provided for Dr. Ballard'slecture.