National Geographic Events

Speakers Bureau

Robert Ballard Underwater Explorer

Photo: Underwater

Photograph by Randy Olson

Photo: Robert Ballard
Photograph by Mark Thiessen

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic shipwreck, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard is a veteran of more than 125 expeditions, many in search of lost ships and ancient artifacts. He is president of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut, and director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

A pioneer in the early use of deep-diving submarines, he was on the first manned expedition of the largest mountain range on Earth, the Mid-Ocean Ridge. Later he lead an expedition off the Galápagos Islands that discovered new life-forms on Earth, a discovery that has revolutionized our understanding of the origin of life on our planet and increased the likelihood of discovering life elsewhere in the solar system. Following his discovery of the Titanic, he went to find other lost legends in the sea including the German battleship Bismarck, the aircraft carrier Yorktown lost during the Battle of Midway, and President Kennedy’s PT-109. His recent Return to Titanic special on the National Geographic Channel was the highest rated show in their history.

Ballard, a former naval officer, is the recipient of numerous awards, including six military honors, The Explorers Club Medal, and National Geographic’s highest award, the Hubbard Medal. In his presentations, Ballard shares stories of his underwater adventures and his vision of how technology can continue to advance the frontiers of exploration.



Popular Presentation

Adventures in Deep Sea Exploration
In this visually gripping presentation, Ballard shares his passion for the last great uncharted territory. Working closely with NOAA, Ballard uses cutting-edge science and technology to explore the ocean’s depths in order to better understand and preserve our waters for the generations that follow.


Audience Testimonial

“Bob Ballard is a wonder. Passionate and knowledgeable, he has captured the imagination of the world; he is able to transport the audience anywhere within it. There seems to be no limits to his expertise, but it is the poetry of his vision that surprises.”


Learn More About Bob:

Explorer-in-Residence Profile

Photo: Titanic

Listen to Radio Interview With Bob Ballard

Boyd Matson Interviews Bob for NG Weekend Radio Show

  • Photo: TED Logo
    Bob Ballard’s TED Talk

    Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping.

  • Robert Ballard at the controls
    60 Minutes Profile of Robert Ballard

    When 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan accompanies Dr. Ballard on an expedition to hunt for ancient shipwrecks, they make an incredible find. What’s more, she uncovers what makes this legend tick.

  • Picture of an ROV
    Video: Alien Deep: Wrecks of the Abyss

    Follow Robert Ballard’s journeys into the deep.

  • Photo: Titanic
    NPR: Robert Ballard: 50 Years Exploring Deep Waters

    Deep-sea voyager Robert Ballard has discovered everything from 10-foot-tall tube worms to the Titanic on his ocean expeditions around the world. Ballard discusses his underwater finds and how new robotic technology allows scientists to explore the sea from ashore.

National Geographic Speakers

Speaker name
Sam Abell
   Photographer Photo of Sam Abell
Lynsey Addario
   Photojournalist Photo of Lynsey Addario
Casey Anderson
   Naturalist, TV Host Photo of Casey Anderson
Peter Athans
   Mountaineer, Filmmaker Photo of Peter Athans
Robert Ballard
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Robert Ballard
Brady Barr
   Reptile Expert, TV Host Photo of Brady Barr
Melina Bellows
   Publisher, Editor Photo of Melina Bellows
Don Belt
   Former Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, National Geographic Photo of Don Belt
Lee Berger
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Lee Berger
Joel K. Bourne Jr.
   Contributing Writer Photo of Joel K. Bourne Jr.
Steve Boyes
   Conservation Biologist Photo of Steve Boyes
Kobie Boykins
   NASA Engineer Photo of Kobie Boykins
John Bredar
   Senior Executive Producer, National Geographic Specials Photo of John Bredar
Kenny Broad
   Cave Diver, Environmental Anthropologist Photo of Kenny Broad
Dan Buettner
   Author, Explorer Photo of Dan Buettner
Bryan Christy
   Investigative Reporter, Fellow Photo of Bryan Christy
Barry Clifford
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Barry Clifford
Jodi Cobb
   Photographer Photo of Jodi Cobb
Michael Davie
   Filmmaker Photo of Michael Davie
Wade Davis
   Cultural Anthropologist, Author Photo of Wade Davis
Dennis Dimick
   Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine Photo of Dennis Dimick
David Doubilet
   Underwater Photographer Photo of David Doubilet
Sylvia Earle
   Marine Biologist Photo of Sylvia Earle
Andrew Evans
   Travel Journalist Photo of Andrew Evans
Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
   Photographers, Writers Photo of Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
John Francis
   Planetwalker, Conservationist Photo of John Francis
Annie Griffiths
   Photographer Photo of Annie Griffiths
Charlie Hamilton James
   Photographer, Filmmaker, TV Presenter Photo of Charlie Hamilton James
Kevin Hand
   Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist Photo of Kevin Hand
Zahi Hawass
   Archaeologist Photo of Zahi Hawass
Fred Hiebert
   Archaeologist Photo of Fred Hiebert
Peter Hillary
   Mountaineer, Author Photo of Peter Hillary
Nizar Ibrahim
   Paleontologist Photo of Nizar Ibrahim
Donald Johanson
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Donald Johanson
Beverly & Dereck Joubert
   Photographers, Filmmakers, Naturalists Photo of Beverly & Dereck Joubert
Mattias Klum
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Conservationist Photo of Mattias Klum
Robert Kunzig
   Senior Environment Editor, National Geographic Photo of Robert Kunzig
Tim Laman
   Field Biologist, Wildlife Photojournalist Photo of Tim Laman
Chris Eckstrom and Frans Lanting
   Photographers, Filmmakers, Writers Photo of Chris Eckstrom and Frans Lanting
Frans Lanting
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Writer Photo of Frans Lanting
Albert Yu-Min Lin
   Research Scientist and Engineer Photo of Albert Yu-Min Lin
Greg Marshall
   Biologist, Inventor, Filmmaker Photo of Greg Marshall
Boyd Matson
   Journalist, Adventurer Photo of Boyd Matson
Mireya Mayor
   Primatologist Photo of Mireya Mayor
Pete McBride
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Freshwater Advocate Photo of Pete McBride
Steve McCurry
   Photographer Photo of Steve McCurry
Kim McKay
   Environmentalist, Author Photo of Kim McKay
Mark Moffett
   Ecologist, Photographer Photo of Mark Moffett
Nalini Nadkarni
   Forest Ecologist Photo of Nalini Nadkarni
Michael "Nick" Nichols
   Photographer, Conservationist Photo of Michael "Nick" Nichols
Paul Nicklen
   Photographer, Biologist Photo of Paul Nicklen
Garrett Oliver
   Brewmaster, Author Photo of Garrett Oliver
Børge Ousland
   Polar Explorer Photo of Børge Ousland
Carsten Peter
   Photographer, Filmmaker Photo of Carsten Peter
Bob Poole
   National Geographic Cameraman Photo of Bob Poole
Sandra Postel
   Freshwater Conservationist, Freshwater Fellow Photo of Sandra Postel
Chad Pregracke
   Environmentalist Photo of Chad Pregracke
Reza
   Photojournalist and Humanitarian Photo of  Reza
Cory Richards
   Photographer, Climber, 2012 Adventurer of the Year Photo of Cory Richards
Jim Richardson
   Photographer Photo of Jim Richardson
Enric Sala
   Marine Ecologist Photo of Enric Sala
Joel Sartore
   Photographer, National Geographic Fellow Photo of Joel Sartore
William Saturno
   Archaeologist Photo of William Saturno
Paul Sereno
   Paleontologist Photo of Paul Sereno
Brian Skerry
   Underwater Photographer Photo of Brian Skerry
Bryan Smith
   Adventure Filmmaker Photo of Bryan Smith
Zoltan Takacs
   Herpetologist / Toxinologist Photo of Zoltan Takacs
Anand Varma
   Natural History Photographer Photo of Anand Varma
Ed Viesturs
   Mountaineer Photo of Ed Viesturs
Ami Vitale
   Photojournalist Photo of Ami Vitale
Spencer Wells
   Population Geneticist Photo of Spencer Wells
Steve Winter
   Photographer Photo of Steve Winter
Andrew Zolli
   Futurist Photo of Andrew Zolli

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  • Bob Ballard
    Photo: Bob Ballard

    Experience the wonder of deep-sea exploration with the man who found the Titanic.

    Learn More
  • Annie Griffiths
    Photo: Annie Griffiths

    One of the first women photographers to work for National Geographic, Griffiths has photographed in more than a hundred countries during her illustrious career.

    Learn More
  • Donald Johanson
    Photo: Donald Johanson

    An accomplished scholar of human origins and the discoverer of the “Lucy” skeleton.

    Read More

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