URI oceanographer Ballard to discuss discovery of Titanic at free lecture April 19

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Event commemorates the 100th anniversary of ship’s sinking

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 2, 2012 – Marine explorer Robert Ballard, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic with a lecture about his discovery of the ship’s resting place.

The lecture, free and open to the public, will take place on April 19 at 7 p.m. in The Ryan Center on the URI Kingston campus.

The “unsinkable” Titanic sank in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. Ballard discovered the remains of the ship on September 1, 1985, following a secret U.S. Navy mission to find two U.S. submarines.

In his lecture, Ballard will discuss his discovery of the ship and share his thoughts about its preservation.

Soon after Ballard found the Titanic, children from around the world sent him thousands of letters asking “what do I have to do to do what you do?” and “the next time you go, can I go with you?” As a result, he has spent more than 20 years working to turn their interest in his discovery of the Titanic into a fundamental interest in science by developing technologies that enable students to watch his annual research expeditions live via a technology he calls telepresence.

While Ballard is best known for his discovery of the Titanic, he has also found numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy’s boat PT-109. His most recent discoveries include the sunken remains of ancient ships along historic trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

Ballard considers his most important discoveries to include the discovery of hydrothermal vents and new chemosynthetic life forms, which helped to confirm the theory of plate tectonics, and the discovery of geologic formations called black smokers that explained, for the first time, the chemistry of the world’s oceans.

Ballard is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, president of the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium, and chairman of the JASON Project.

If you are unable to attend, Ballard’s talk will be webcast on URI Live, uri.edu/news/urilive. For more information, contact the URI Office of Public Programming and Special Events at eventrsvp@advance.uri.edu or 401-874-2896.