Dr. Robert D. Ballard (2001)
Award Presented at the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
Dr. Robert D. Ballard, founder and president of the Institute for Exploration Sea Research Foundation, in Mystic, Conn., and founder and chief scientist of the JASON Foundation for Education in Waltham, Mass., was selected to receive the 2001 Lindbergh Award because of his remarkable career in exploring the depths of the ocean using sophisticated technological devices and advanced telecommunications capabilities to educate young people in the study of science and math. His long-term commitment to these endeavors demonstrates the Lindberghs concept of balance. Dr. Ballard is perhaps best known for discovering the R.M.S. Titanic, but there are many more accomplishments in his career. He developed several manned and unmanned vehicles and robotic systems for deep-sea exploration, enabling scientists to reach depths that had never been explored before, and allowing them to discover ocean environments and the unique animals and ecosystems of the deep sea.
Following the discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Ballard started the JASON Project. Using two-way satellite technology, live, interactive multi-media educational sessions are broadcast to students studying science and math around the world. A complete curriculum, endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association, is created for each expedition and includes not only a study of physical sciences, but also the study of telecommunications, robotics and other technologies. Since its inception, Dr. Ballard has served as host of the JASON Project broadcasts, and globally, five million students in grades 4-9 have observed his missions to the depths of the ocean where they may experience the thrill of underwater exploration. Dr. Ballard worked at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute for 30 years. He is also a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and is one of the first explorers-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. He holds a doctorate in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island, 13 honorary degrees and six military awards, and received the National Geographic Societys highest honor, the Hubbard Medal in 1996 for extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the worlds oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science. Through his lifelong love of the sea, courage to explore, and his technological breakthroughs, Dr. Ballard has discovered new life, and has learned and shared the lessons of life in the deep sea. Since oceans cover 70% of the Earths surface, and 90% of the ocean is more than 1,000 feet deep, Dr. Ballards current interest in the nature of human history beneath the sea, maritime history, and deep-water archaeology, has opened another chapter of exploration and education for everyone.