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Oceanographers-Robert D. Ballard
The President of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut.1973-74 participated in the first manned exploration of the mid-Atlantic ridge; 1977 led an expedition in the Galapagos Rift; and his best-known discovery came in 1985, when he located the wreck of R.M.S. Titanic. Ballard has also located and studied other shipwrecks, including ancient Roman ships along trade routes off the coast of Tunisia in 1997, the first two intact Phoenician ships ever found, and many other ships. He believes that there is more history on the ocean floor than all the museums in the world.

Robert Ballard was born in Kansas, but grew up in San Diego, California. He was fascinated with the seas and influenced with movies books and programs about the undersea world.

His father a missile scientist helped him get get a job at the aerospace company's Ocean Systems Group when he was 19 years old. The company was competing for a contract to build a three-man deep-ocean submersible. In later years, Ballard spent much if his career in such a vessel, known as ALVIN.

Ballard earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and geology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He participated in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and earned an army commission. He was assigned to Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institute in Massachusetts. After leaving the Navy, he returned to Woods Hole as a research fellow and earned a Ph.D. in geology and geophysics in 1974 and went to work at Woods Hole as a full-time marine scientist.

His first major expedition, Project Famous, was the first to perform successful field mapping underwater. For more than a decade he with his team explored the uncharted mountain ranges of the ocean floor, exploring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and descended 20,000 feet in the Cayman Trough.

During these expeditions, Ballard discovered that the entire volume of the earth's oceans is, over a period of years, recycled through the earth's crust. They also discovered the thermal vents off the Galapagos Islands.

Not satisfied with the possibilities of undersea research offered by the slow-moving submersible ALVIN, Ballard developed ANGUS (Acoustically Navigated Geological Underwater Survey), a submersible camera which could remain at the ocean floor for 12 to 14 hours, and take up to 16,000 photographs in a single lowering.

In 1980, Ballard took a sabbatical from Woods Hole to teach at Stanford University in California. By now, Ballard had earned tenure at Woods Hole. Ballard took his proposal to the U.S. Navy, and received the go-ahead from Navy Secretary John Lehman in 1982. He and his crew embarked on a mission to find the sunken hulk of HMS Titanic, He and his crew located the wreck, more than two miles beneath the waves of the North Atlantic, on September 1, 1985.

Today, he is the President of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut. In recent years he has inaugurated the Jason Project. Qualified students in participating schools can now watch live transmissions from the Jason robots, as they continue to explore the world beneath the waves.