Greenies Learn from Legendary Explorer


Greenies Learn from Legendary Explorer

Dr. Robert Ballard's finds include the Titanic wreckage

Dr. Robert Ballard has discovered some of the most famous shipwrecks of all time – most notably Titanic in 1985.

The renowned oceanographer was speaking a half-hour away from campus Thursday, affording a rare opportunity for Christ School students and faculty.

Ballard, 75, showed no signs of slowing down as he regaled a packed-house in Brevard College's performing arts center with tales from the past, but also updates on his current research. Along with exploration itself, the talk was filled with themes of conservation and social justice.

"I was born in Wichita, Kansas, where all oceanographers come from," Ballard joked. "I was 5 when my family moved to San Diego and the ocean became my backyard. I fell in love with the sea and told my parents I wanted to be Captain Nemo. One thing I've learned is never laugh at a child's dream."

Nautilus is the fictional submarine captained by Nemo in Jules Verne's novels "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)" and "The Mysterious Island (1874)." The latest project for Ballard and his team, the Corps of Exploration, is a website called "Nautilus Live" that allows users to explore the ocean in real time.

In addition to Titanic, Ballard is credited with finding wrecks of the battleship Bismarck, aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy's PT-109 (Patrol Torpedo boat).

Following his talk on Thursday, there was a short question-and-answer session, and Ballard called on Greenie senior Philip Hodges '18, who was sitting in the front row. Philip asked how agriculture will evolve with help from resources found in the ocean.

Students who attended Thursday's talk were Philip, Henderson Reynolds '21, Pierce Parker '19, Robert Dong '21, Conner Booher '20, Henry Duggins '20, and Marko Cvetkovic '19. Ben Dowling, Marcel Duhaime, Beth Duhaime, and Thom Flinders were Christ School teachers in the audience.