When pioneer oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard was searching for the wreckage of the Titanic deep under the sea in the 1980s, the world held its breath.
When he found it, the world cheered—all except for the U.S. Navy brass who were his real bosses on the mission.
It turns out the Titanic was just a cover story for his real mission: Finding sunken U.S. nuclear subs, with their missiles believed to be still intact, before the Red Navy could.
And with the Titanic located, that cover story was gone and had to be replaced. The public never knew the details until 2008, a good 23 years after the mission.
Dr. Ballard, who spoke last Thursday at Rogers State University to about 200 people including a half dozen lucky Oologah High School students, has spent a lifetime trying to expand our understanding of the sea and the mysteries that lie beneath it.
He is now working to help inspire the next generation of explorers who will continue deep-ocean scientific research to explore that alien landscape.
Delivering the keynote speech at RSU’s annual Herrington Lecture, Dr. Ballard urged educators to provide good role models within mathematics and sciences.
“Don’t sell kids on math. Sell them on the cool people who are doing really cool things using math,” he said.
He told the audience he tries to provide his youngest students with real-life examples of people they could be in 20 years.
Read the rest of the story in this week’s Oologah Lake Leader, in stores now.