On more than 120 deep-sea expeditions, Robert Ballard has made many major natural discoveries, such as the deep-sea vents. Oh, and he found the Titanic.

Why you should listen

From an early age, Robert Ballard was intrigued by the deep. He's perhaps best-known for his work in underwater archaeology; in addition to Titanic, he has found the wrecks of the Bismarck, the USS Yorktown, the nuclear sub Thresher (on a top-secret mission for the Navy -- for which the Titanic was his cover story) and John F. Kennedy's PT-109.

His contributions to our scientific knowledge of the ocean is just as awe-inspiring. He was in the first team of humans to view the deep-sea vents, and to understand how life can not only survive but thrive in these deep black waters, under extreme pressure and at extreme temperature.

He's also a powerful storyteller and a passionate scientific educator. He founded the Institute for Exploration and has pioneered distance learning in classrooms around the world. Through his JASON Project, 1.7 million students a year join scientists virtually as they experience the thrill of exploration and discovery.

What others say

"Mr. Ballard has long been blessed with the special luck of a successful explorer as well as the special knowledge of a leading scientist." — New York Times

Robert Ballard’s TED talks

Robert Ballard on the TED Blog
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Entertainment

TED speakers discuss the 125th anniversary of National Geographic

January 23, 2013

Happy birthday, National Geographic. The intrepid magazine turns 125-years-old this month. Yesterday, NPR’s Talk of the Nation invited TED speakers Robert Ballard and Sarah Parcak on the air to discuss the notable anniversary. Ballard, who is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, talked about a recent expedition to the Black Sea, where he discovered a very well-preserved […]

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Science

The Lonely Interplanetary guide to scuba diving

August 1, 2008

Bored with Earthly beach destinations this summer? Does the word “Carribbean” not ring exactly, well, “exotic” these days? With this week’s news that (highly acidic) water has been tasted on Mars and an ethane lake has been discovered on Saturn’s moon Titan, perhaps it’s time to investigate otherworldly destinations for fun in the surf. Grab […]

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Quotes from Robert Ballard

Everything I’m going to present to you was not in my textbooks when I went to school … not even in my college textbooks. I’m a geophysicist, and [in] all my Earth science books when I was a student — I had to give the wrong answer to get an A.
Robert Ballard
TED2008 • 983K views May 2008
Fascinating, Inspiring
I would not let an adult drive my robot. You don’t have enough gaming experience. But I will let a kid with no license take control of my vehicle system.
Robert Ballard
TED2008 • 983K views May 2008
Fascinating, Inspiring