Exactly 106 years from the day the Titanic set sail, the man who found its wreckage will visit Missouri State University.
Dr. Robert Ballard will serve as the Public Affairs Conference opening keynote speaker. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 10, 2018, at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to have the partnership with the Missouri State Foundation in bringing our keynote speaker for the Public Affairs Conference,” said Mary Ann Wood, director of public affairs support. “Dr. Ballard’s research and work reflects well on our theme, ‘Sustainability in Practice.’”
Ballard has tracked down many significant shipwrecks. The list includes the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109.
Those discoveries captured the public’s imagination. However, Ballard believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979.
His discoveries also include:
- Sunken remains of ships along ancient trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea
- Two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel, the oldest shipwrecks ever found in deep water
- Four 1,500-year-old wooden ships, one almost perfectly preserved in the Black Sea. Ballard’s Black Sea project seeks evidence of a great flood that may have struck the region thousands of years ago.
Ballard – who’s appeared in several National Geographic TV programs – has a doctorate of philosophy in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island.
He has 21 honorary degrees and six military awards. The explorer was a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served in the Navy from 1967 to 1997.