It’s the most famous shipwreck in history, and 100 years later the public is still mesmerized by every artifact recovered and every observation shared about the sinking of the Titanic. And the man who discovered the “unsinkable” ship’s remains more than two miles deep in the North Atlantic was none other than URI Professor of Oceanography Robert Ballard, who honed his craft as a Ph.D. student at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography in the 1970s. Ballard, the world’s most famous marine explorer, shared his personal insights in “Titanic: 100 Years Later,” a special presentation to held on the Kingston Campus on April 19. If you missed it, you can watch our recorded livecast of the presentation in our livecast archives at URILive after noon on April 20.
Ballard, the world’s most famous marine explorer, will share his personal insights in “Titanic: 100 Years Later,” a special presentation to be held on the Kingston Campus on April 19.
The discovery of the Titanic, and Ballard’s subsequent findings of the German battleship Bismarck, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy’s boat PT-109, helped him realize his big idea for a new model for oceanographic research. He wanted to create a way to bring ocean research and discoveries to land-based researchers and students, much like the NASA Command Center allows earth-bound observers to see the activities of world astronauts in space. Today, at the Inner Space Center on URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus, scientists and students receive real-time audio and video of marine research activities from ships around the globe, allowing them to participate in expeditions at sea without leaving campus. Ballard’s recent discoveries of ancient shipwrecks in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have been broadcast live to the Inner Space Center and beyond, thanks to his vision for “telepresence.”
Determined to train the next generation of marine archaeologists, Ballard created a unique academic program in Archaeological Oceanography by combining the disciplines of oceanography, ocean engineering, and maritime history. The program joins numerous others that together make URI a global leader in marine science research and education. For graduates of these programs, ocean exploration is far from a titanic undertaking. Listen to Ballard’s interview with American Public Media on the state of deep sea expeditions.