D. 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. During the Vietnam
War, he served on active duty as an Ensign, Lt.
J.G. and finally as a Lieutenant. Ballard has
rejoined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Commander.
has led or participated in more than 100 deep-sea
expeditions including the use of the deep-diving
submersible ALVIN and the Navy's nuclear research
submarine NR-1. Ballard is best known as the discoverer
of the ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic, and his expeditions
include the first discovery of high temperature
retired from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
in 1997, where he was senior scientist and director
of the Center for Marine Exploration. Founder
and head of the Institute for Exploration (IFE)
at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, Ballard
today advocates the use of technology such as
advanced mapping and imaging systems, underwater
robotics and manned-submersibles in deep-sea exploration.
Ballard is an Explorer in Residence at the National
Geographic Society. He is Founder and President
of Institute for Exploration which is based at
Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration in
links to Robert Ballard's home page and other related
infomation please see our resources
Mr. Ballard, My name is Matthew B. I am in a grade
6, Deaf and Hard of Hearing class, in Calgary,
Alberta, Canada. Can you tell me everything you
know about the Titanic. Where can I find out more
about it I'm fascinated about the Titanic. Everyday
I think about building the Titanic II which will
be unsinkable. Yours Truly, Matthew
Dear Matthew, Well, thanks for your question.
It would take a long time to tell you everything
I know about the Titanic. There's a book I did
by Scholastic called Exploring the Titanic. It's
very popular among boys your age. You can get
a copy and read what so many other kids enjoy
B. Ballard I would like to say first of all, that
the segment on the vents and hydrogen sulfide
stuff was very interesting. But the most interesting
to me was your proposal for a floating habitat
project. I would like to know more about this
is there a site for this project?
It's amazing how many people are fascinated
by that. I'm glad. We have built a ship like that
for research purposes called the FLIP, which stands
for Floating Instrument Platform, situated in
San Diego, CA, operated by Scripps Institution
of Oceanography. You can learn more about FLIP
& Glenn Barnier asks:
son and I were fascinated by the tube worms deep
in the ocean near the heat vents. What puzzled
us was the seeming lack of impact of the immense
pressure on this creature. Why would so soft and
malleable an animal not be crushed under such
a pressure? Why would it not explode when raised
to the surface before it was put in a pressurized
chamber? If we could fill our lungs with oxygenated
fluid like has been done experimentally on premature
infants (I think), would we then have no problems
at such depths ourselves?
show certainly raised a lot of questions in our
Pressure only affects the gaseous state. Things
that are all liquid or all solid do not feel pressure.
Even though an animal may be soft, if it has no
air inside it's body, it cannot feel pressure.
That is also why they don't explode when they
come to the surface. They have no air inside their
bodies, so nothing can expand. In theory, filling
your lungs with oxygenated fluid would protect
you from fluid, but the alveoli in your lungs
are so delicate that the hydraulic forces would
damage them. They've done it in people with Cystic
fibrosis to clean the lung. Moving air around
the very delicate structures in your lungs is
one thing, but moving water around could cause
them to hemorrhage.
was struck by something Dr. Ballard talked about
near the end of the show on the deep sea, about
his offland habitat. I too have had thought about
the same idea many times myself, and I am wondering
if you could tell me what type of education would
be needed to pursue a job in that type of field.
Thanks, Vince Spicer
It's amazing to me that we are conducing experiments
on how to grow plants on Mars and the moon and
the International Space Station, but there is
no program dealing with an offshore habitat like
the one I suggested. I am trying to change that,
but there is no source of funding in the federal
government to fund such a project.
you be writing a book about your experiences,
your theories, your futuristic projections?
I've written two books that you might want
The Eternal Darkness, published by Princeton
University Press, and Adventures in Ocean Exploration:
From the Discovery of the Titanic to the Search
for Noah's Flood, published by National Geographic
the SAF program, I hadn't heard about the life
surrounding the black smokers, nor that it seems
to defy the axiom that "life" relies upon the
energy of the sun. One would think that this would
generate a great deal of excitement, not only
in the scientific community, but also with the
general public. I was wondering why you think
that there hasn't been more publicity surrounding
the discovery [not targeted for the scientific
community that is]?
Well, it's just that that's the nature of
the beast. Science- even though you think it's
exciting and you think the general public should
become excited about it- it doesn't happen. We'd
love the public to have science on their minds
all the time, but it's generally not - unfortunately.
However, when we discovered the Black Smokers
in 1977, there was some media attention. National
Geographic did a show in 1979-80 called "Dive
to the Edge of Creation." That was my first show.
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