Dr. Robert D. Ballard

Dr. Robert D. Ballard is founder and President of the Institute for Exploration (IFE) at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, chief scientist and founder of the JASON Foundation for Education, and Director of the Institute of Archaeological Oceanography at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

Specializing in deep-ocean archeology, IFE's goal is to establish this new field of research utilizing evolving technology such as advanced mapping and imaging systems, underwater robotics and manned-submersibles. Another IFE objective, is to share Ballard's most recent discoveries with millions of visitors to the Challenge of the Deep, part of a recent $52 million expansion at Mystic Aquarium.

After 30 years Dr. Ballard retired from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1997, where he was senior scientist and director of the Center For Marine Exploration. Ballard is also the founder of the JASON Project. JASON was established in 1989 after Ballard received thousands of letters from school children wanting to know how he discovered the R.M.S. Titanic.

Education: Dr. Ballard received his undergraduate degree in Geology and Chemistry from the University of California. He attended graduate school at the University of Southern California, the University of Hawaii's Graduate School of Oceanography and received his Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Rhode Island.

Military Service: Dr. Ballard graduated from the University of California as a distinguished military graduate with a commission in Army Intelligence. Later his commission was transferred to the U.S. Navy and during the Vietnam War he served on active duty as an Ensign, Lt. J.G. and finally as a Lieutenant. Dr. Ballard has rejoined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Commander.

Television Projects: Dr. Ballard is recognized as one of the premiere spokesman for marine research. For the past twenty years he has participated in numerous educational programs, in particular, the National Geographic Society including a two-year period when he hosted National Geographic's, EXPLORER, shown on Turner Broadcasting.

Research Expeditions: Dr. Ballard has led or participated in more than 100 deep-sea expeditions including the use of the deep-diving submersible ALVIN, ARCHIMEDE, TRIESTE II, TURTLE, BEN FRANKLIN, CYANA, and the Navy's nuclear research submarine NR-1. Dr. Ballard is best known as the discoverer of the ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic, the German Battleship Bismarck, 11 warships from the lost fleet of Guadalcanal and the US aircraft carrier Yorktown. His expeditions included the first manned-exploration of the Mid-ocean Ridge, the discovery of warm-water springs and their unusual animal communities in the Galapagos Rift, the first discovery of polymetallic sulfides and the discovery of high temperature black smokers.

JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic