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Dr. Robert Ballard

While best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Bob Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the American aircraft carrier Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy’s PT 109. He is also known for his historic discoveries of hydrothermal vents and is a pioneer in the early use of deep-diving submarines.

Dr. Ballard has conducted more than 120 deep-sea expeditions using the latest in exploration technology. Dr. Ballard and his team from the Institute for Exploration also spearheaded efforts to conduct live expeditions and telepresence efforts underwater.

Dr. Ballard received prestigious awards from the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society—the Explorers Medal and the Hubbard Medal, respectively—as well as the Lindbergh Award. In 2003 President George W. Bush presented him with the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal in the Oval Office of the White House.

Dr. Ballard serves as Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. He is also scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he spent 30 years, and an explorer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society. He formerly served as President of the Institute for Exploration and as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Dr. Ballard has a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island, and holds more than a dozen honorary degrees.

In 2008, he secured the E/V Nautilus, which has become his flag-ship for exploration funded in part by NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. The Nautilus is connected by way of a high bandwidth satellite link to the Inner Space Center. The E/V Nautilus, operated by his Ocean Exploration Trust, spends four to five months at sea each year and has explored the world’s seas and oceans, including the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.