Founder and President, Ocean Exploration Trust; Director, Center for Ocean Exploration, University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography
Robert D. Ballard is founder and president of the Ocean Exploration Trust, which owns and operates America's ship of exploration, the E/V NAUTILUS. His Corps of Exploration, 55 percent of which are women, spends six months per year exploring the most remote regions of the world's oceans. His discoveries include the RMS TITANIC, German Battleship BISMARCK, and countless ancient shipwrecks. He discovered where life first gained a foothold on earth as well as valuable deposits of gold, copper and silver. The present focus of their explorations is the 50 percent of America that lies unexplored beneath the sea. Using highly advanced undersea robots and satellite technology, his discoveries can be beamed directly into the classrooms of America in an effort to increase young students' interest in pursuing degrees in science and engineering as well as the art of communications. He holds 21 honorary doctorates, received the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.