CORVALLIS - Ocean explorer Bob Ballard, best known as the discoverer of the Titanic wreckage, will speak in Newport and Corvallis next week at events jointly sponsored by Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and Oregon Sea Grant.
At 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, Ballard and Steve Hammond, director of the NOAA Vents Program at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, will give an overview of their research involving deep sea exploration, and answer questions from the audience. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be in the HSMC Visitor Center auditorium.
A book signing at the Visitor Center's bookstore will follow the talk. Ballard's most recent book, "Adventures in Ocean Exploration: From the Discovery of the Titanic to the Search for Noah's Flood," will be available.
Ballard also will appear in Corvallis on Thursday, where he will speak at 7 p.m. at OSU's CH2M HILL Alumni Center. His Corvallis talk, "Deep Sea Exploration," also is free and open to the public.
Ballard is scheduled to speak Friday in Portland as part of the Arts and Sciences Lecture Series.
A leading marine geologist, explorer and pioneer in the field of deep-water archaeology, Ballard spent 30 years as an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. He founded the Deep Submergence Laboratory and pioneered the use of manned submersibles in exploring the ocean floor. His research helped confirm the theory of plate tectonics and led to the discovery of hydrothermal vents and their exotic life forms.
Ballard earned his doctorate in marine geophysics from the University of Rhode Island. In 1980, he applied fiber-optic technology to design a new generation of towed sleds that would transmit video pictures in real time to the towing ship.
He is best known for using the submersible, Argo, to find and photograph the wreckage of Titanic in the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic in 1985. On a second expedition, Ballard's team returned to photograph Titanic and leave a plaque in memory of the more than 1,500 persons who share its grave.
Other famed wrecks found by Ballard include Thresher, a U.S. Navy submarine lost at sea in 1963; the World War II warships Bismarck and U.S.S. Yorktown, and the largest concentration of Roman ships and the oldest ancient ships ever found in the deep sea.
He has 13 honorary degrees and six military awards, is a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and received the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal for "extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the world's oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science."