“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 will be the Spring 2018 J. R. McDowell Speaker, sponsored by the Transylvania County Library Foundation in partnership with Brevard College. His presentation and talk, “Deep Sea Exploration,” will be Thursday evening, April 12th beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Porter Center for Performing Arts at Brevard College. General admission tickets for the event are $10 and will go on sale March 12th at the Transylvania County Library. (Cash or Check only)
In addition to the Titanic, Dr. 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, 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 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, Ballard is president of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET).
An explorer, discoverer, and professor, Ballard’s fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and his work has encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea. Other discoveries 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.
Ballard earned his Doctorate degree 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. He is presently a full professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island. He has 21 honorary degrees, six military awards, and an array of extraordinary accomplishments and medals for his tireless work in the world’s oceans. He has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine. Ballard has also been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking Secrets of the Titanic.
This annual speaker series, named for Transylvania County Library Foundation Board member emeritus J. R. McDowell, is designed to present a wide array of viewpoints on challenging and thought-provoking topics. Since 1944, the Transylvania County Library Foundation has worked to improve public library services to the citizens of Transylvania County.
Brevard College is committed to an experiential liberal arts education that encourages personal growth and inspires artistic, intellectual, and social action. To learn more, visit brevard.edu, “like” Brevard College on Facebook and follow @BrevardCollege on Twitter.
For additional information, contact the Transylvania County Library at 828-884-3151.