Robert Ballard, Ocean ExplorerRobert D. Ballard is Founder and President of the Ocean Exploration Trust; Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration and Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. He is an Explorer-At-Large at the National Geographic Society, Commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and a Research Scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years and continues to work with the Office of Naval Research. He has also discovered hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979. His honors include 22 Honorary Doctorates, National Geographic’s highest award, the Hubbard Medal, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Medal.