Bertrand Piccard was born in a family of firsts. His father, Jacques, together with Dan Walsh of the US, was the first man to reach the deepest point of the world's oceans, the Mariana Trench, in 1960. Almost 30 years earlier, his grandfather, Auguste, first ballooned into the stratosphere.
While they went up and down, Bertrand went horizontal and in 1999, together with Brian Jones of Britain, completed the first-ever nonstop balloon circumnavigation of the globe, flying more than 45,000 km in 20 days.
Most recently, in a hangar near Zurich, a team of scientists and engineers led by Piccard and co-pilot André Borschberg built Solar Impulse, an unconventional aircraft built to circumnavigate the Earth powered by solar energy, flying day and night (yes, when the Sun is "off"). The prototype has the weight of a car but the wingspan of an Airbus. Solar Impulse has successfully circumnavigated the Earth, flying 40,000 miles on renewable energy, proving that clean energy can be harnessed by next-generation engineering to revolutionize the global economy and reduce greenhouse emissions while providing economic incentives through cutting-edge technology.
Piccard is also the founder of Winds of Hope, an organization to combat neglected diseases in children, and a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Population Fund.
In 1994, Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen was the first woman to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole, a 50-day expedition of 745 miles (1,200 km). She led the first unsupported women's crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992. In February 2001 Liv Arnesen and American polar explorer Ann Bancroft became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass, completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek. Since the Bancroft-Arnesen Expedition, their inspirational story has helped spark Bancroft Arnesen Explore, designed to share their feats with audiences around the globe through multi-media presentations, short films, and lectures as a way to motivate people to reach for their own dreams. Beyond exploration, Arnesen has taught and coached students for more than 20 years and is involved in the rehabilitation of drug abusers.
Arnesen's expeditions have been featured by the BBC, CNN, CTV, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News and NBC's Today Show. She also has been featured in national print publications, such as People, USA Today, New York Times, Glamour, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated, the Oprah Magazine, as well as more than 50 international newspapers worldwide. She is the author of several books leadership and polar exploration. She has been named among Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year" (2001); selected for the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame's "Trailblazer" award (2001); and recognized by the Russian Geographic Society with a "Diploma of Honor" (1999).
Fabien Cousteau is an aquanaut, ocean conservationist, and documentary filmmaker. As the first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Fabien spent his early years aboard his grandfather's ships Calypso and Alcyone; learning how to scuba dive on his fourth birthday. From 2000-2002, Fabien was an Explorer-at-Large for National Geographic and collaborated on a TV special aimed at changing public conceptions about sharks called "Attack of the Mystery Shark". In 2003-2006, he produced the documentary "Mind of a Demon" that aired on CBS. With the help of a large crew, Fabien created a 14-foot, 1,200-pound, lifelike shark submarine called "Troy" that enabled him to immerse himself inside the shark world.
For the next four years (2006-2010), Fabien was part of a multi-hour series for PBS called "Ocean Adventures" with his father, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and sister, Céline, inspired by his grandfather's 1978 PBS series "Ocean Adventures".
In early 2009 Fabien began working with local communities and children worldwide to help restore local water ecosystems. He continues to fulfill these initiatives through Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center ("OLC") his non-profit 501(c )(3) founded in early 2016 dedicated to the restoration of the world's water bodies through active community engagement and education.
Dr. James B. Garvin is the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Chief Scientist, and a veteran Earth and planetary scientist within NASA in a career that has spanned more than 30 years. Garvin served as the NASA Chief Scientist, and as the chief scientist for Mars exploration from 2000 until 2004 and spearheaded the development of the scientific strategy that led NASA to select such missions as the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix polar lander, and the Mars Science Laboratory. He received two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for his work with the science behind the Mars Exploration Program. He is also the recipient of two Presidential Rank Awards for his contributions to science at NASA.
Dr. Garvin's scientific expertise spans several elements of Earth and Planetary sciences. He has been an active co-investigator on the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT missions, using the SAR images from this mission to document the 1996 catastrophic outburst flood in Iceland and the landscape dynamics on newly-formed oceanic islands. His scientific expertise includes the geology and geophysics of impact craters, the geomorphology of oceanic islands, and the geometric properties of sedimentary systems on Mars, Venus, and the Moon. Dr. Garvin recently led a team of scientists who are using the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the lunar surface at ultraviolet wavelengths in search of potential resources in support of human exploration of the Moon.
George Kourounis is a renowned global adventurer, storm chaser, explorer and television presenter. His efforts to document nature's worst weather conditions have taken him all over the globe, into places most people usually flee. Whether it's a tornado outbreak in Kansas, a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, forest fires in British Columbia, or an erupting volcano, Kouronis is usually in the middle of the action with his camera rolling.
His efforts have been featured on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer, BBC-TV, CNN and his own adventure TV program Angry Planet broadcast in over 100 countries. He started chasing tornadoes and storms 20 years ago and has continued to expand his explorations to include all types of extreme natural phenomena. In 2005, George brought his camera to the remote Danakil Depression in the harsh Ethiopian desert and was lowered 60 feet (30m) into the smoking crater of the active Erta Ale volcano. This event made him the first person to have ever filmed from inside of 3 of world's most fearsome forces; a tornado, the eye of a hurricane, and an active volcano. George is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (UK), the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and Chairman of The Explorers Club Canadian Chapter.
He's also a member of the Canadian Council For Geographic Education, The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. He was awarded the 2014 Stefansson Medal from the Explorers Club and is listed by Canadian Geographic Magazine as on of Canada's Top 100 Explorers.
Felicity Aston is a British polar explorer, record-setting expedition leader, Antarctic scientist, author and speaker. In 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744km that took 59 days to complete and approved as a Guinness World Record.
Her expeditions include the first British Women's crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole, a 36,000km drive to the Pole of Cold, and leading the largest and most international team of women ever to ski to the South Pole. She has worked as a meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica.
Aston seeks new and exciting ways to communicate the expedition experience to the wider world. She has written three books and is regularly featured in publications worldwide, including CNN, Geographical and The Huffington Post. In 2013 she spent a month flying across North America in an airship co-presenting a two part BBC Science documentary about the atmosphere called ?Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies' for BBC Two. In 2016 she spent a month retracing the route of the 1898 Klondike Goldrush across the Yukon, co-presenting a documentary mini-series for BBC History.
She currently serves on the Council of the Royal Geographical Society and is ambassador for The British Antarctic Monument Trust, Equal Adventure, and the First Women project. Felicity is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and The Explorers Club. She is a 2008 Churchill Fellow, has received the Ginny Fiennes Award from the Transglobe Expedition Trust, the 2014 Women of Discovery Award from WINGS WorldQuest and an Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University. In 2015 she was awarded The Queen's Polar Medal - one of very few women to have received this special honour - and was appointed MBE for services to polar exploration.
Don Walsh is an American oceanographer and together with Jacques Piccard the first to reach the deepest point in the ocean in 1960, one of five Explorers Club Famous Firsts in exploration. In January 1960, the bathyscaphe Trieste reached a depth of 10,911 meters (35,798 feet) in the Mariana Trench. Walsh has explored the ocean for more than 50 years through ocean science, engineering and marine policy work. In 1954 he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy upon graduation from the US Naval Academy.
He spent fifteen years at sea, and retired with the rank of Captain, having served as a submarine commander and worked with ocean research. Walsh has served as Dean of Marine Programs and Professor of Ocean Engineering at the University of Southern California, and initiated and directed the university´s Institute for Marine and Coastal Studies. In 1989 Walsh´s company, International Maritime Incorporated, together with the P. P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, established the underwater maintenance company Soyuz Marine Service. In 2002-2003 Walsh participated in a 70-day expedition circumnavigating the Antarctic continent. "The Walsh Spur" mountain ridge in Antarctica is named after him.
Walsh serves on the Ocean Sciences Board at the National Academy of Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from Texas A&M University, was appointed by Presidents Carter and Reagan to the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. Walsh has been named one of the world´s great explorers by Life Magazine. In 2010 he was awarded the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society´s greatest honour. The US Navy has awarded Walsh its Distinguished Public Service Award. Don Walsh is an Ocean Elder. He has been awarded the Explorers Medal, the hightest honour of The Explorers Club. Walsh has dived on the RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck in the MIR submersible. He is recently back from the Five Deeps expedition to the Mariana Trench in April/May 2019.
Madison Stewart has been filming and diving with sharks since age 12 but shifted into the world of conservation unwillingly because of a severe decline of sharks on her local reefs in Australia. To this day, Madison has created several short films and has been featured in three full-length documentaries for shark conservation.
She has influenced the trades of two major Australian supermarket chains to remove shark products and has run successful campaigns against others. Madison has filmed in shark fisheries and worked with shark fishermen in Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Fiji and West Africa. Developing friendships with shark hunters and infiltrating shark finning markets and companies are just some of her unorthodox methods. Recently she established a new income for shark fishermen in Indonesia through sustainable tourism.
Using film, she has highlighted the horrors occurring to sharks to millions of the Australian public in an attempt to save the sharks, and to this day makes films to reach and inspire.
Dr. Salima Ikram is distinguished university professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, and has worked as an archaeologist in Turkey, Sudan, Greece and the United States.
She has directed the Animal Mummy Project, co-directed the Predynastic Gallery project and the North Kharga Oasis Survey, and is Director of the North Kharga Oasis Darb Ain Amur Survey and the Amenmesse Mission of KV10 and KV63 in the Valley of the Kings. Dr. Ikram has worked on several excavations in Egypt as well as in the Sudan, Greece, and Turkey.
Her research interests include death, daily life, archaeology of animals, the relationship between animals and humans, environmental history, experimental archaeology, and the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. She has showcased her research all over the world. publishing numerous books and articles, on topics ranging from mummification to the eating habits of the ancient Egyptians.
These include, Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt; Choice Cuts: Meat Production in Ancient Egypt; Ancient Egypt: An Introduction, Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and received the Spanish Geographical Society Annual Award in 2012.
José Manuel Núñez de la Fuente is a Spanish anthropologist and historian at the University of Seville, Spain. He has produced several historical documentaries, including the series El Testamento de Adán, which covers the first circumnavigation by Magellan and Elcano. He has led influential socio-cultural and educational projects, among them the multicultural program for young people "Na Peugada de Magalhães." He is the founder of the World Network of Magical Cities, of which he is Secretary General, which integrates cities from different countries and continents.
Núñez de la Fuente is the author of the libretto Magallanes. No rosa sin espinas, composed by Marco Reghezza and Giovanni Scapecchi, and Diário de Fernão de Magalhães, a book dedicated to the accounts of Magellan's voyage.
He is promoting the sites of the "Magalhães-Elcano Route" for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. He leads NASA's $880,000,000 New Horizons mission that successfully explored the Pluto system and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt; the farthest exploration in the history of humankind. In 2007 and 2008, Dr. Stern served as NASA's chief of all space and Earth science programs.
Dr. Stern's research has focused on studies of our solar system's Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud, comets, the satellites of the outer planets, the Pluto system, and the search for evidence of solar systems around other stars. He is expected to fly several suborbital space missions aboard Virgin Galactic vehicles in 2019-2020.
Dr. Stern has published over 290 research papers and 40 popular articles. He is the author of two books, The U.S. Space Program After Challenger, and Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System. Additionally, he has served as editor on three research volumes, and three collections of scientific popularizations: Our Worlds, Our Universe, and Worlds Beyond. His latest book, Chasing New Horizons, was coauthored with David Grinspoon.
Dr. Stern has over 30 years of experience in space instrument development, with a strong concentration in ultraviolet technologies. Since 2008, Dr. Stern has had his own aerospace consulting practice. In both 2007 and 2016, he was named to the Time 100 list.
Dr. Goodman blends skills from archaeology, geology and anthropology to explore the complex ways nature and humans interact on coastlines. Her work concentrates on the causes and effects of ancient environmental events like tsunamis and floods in an attempt to better understand what risks are present today and how broader climate-linked trends, such as sea-level change and fluctuations in precipitation, can be recognized in the sedimentary record. As coastal populations increase exponentially, and sea levels continue to rise, the information she gleans becomes ever more crucial.
At present her research includes reconstructing and understanding the landscape and environmental changes along the Maya maritime corridors of the Yucatan, determining the tsunami-history of the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea, characterizing tsunami deposits left behind 65 million years ago from the K/T meteorite impact, and cataloguing some of the ocean's smallest shelled creatures (foraminifera) observed by the explorers of the Pristine Seas project.
Goodman believes coasts are some of the most vulnerable and relevant places on earth?we can either make responsible choices, or face enormous repercussions. She is a 2009 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Joakim Odelberg is one of the most contracted and respected conservation photographers and underwater filmmakers in Sweden. His devotion to nature both on land and in the sea has reached beyond Swedish borders. He is also frequently featured for lectures both in Sweden and internationally. Odelberg worked as a popular host for Swedish SVT's "Surrounded By Nature." He is a bi-weekly nature correspondent on Swedish TV4's morning news show. As Global Panasonic Ambassador, Odelberg documents some of the most endangered and unique species on earth.
Odelberg has received awards in the International Underwater Film festival, EUIFA environmental award for "Ghosts in the Baltic Sea," on the issue of ghost nets, Anemone environmental award at the North Sea Film festival, honorary mention at the Blue Ocean Film Festival, Monterey, CA, environmental award and grant from the Thorden Foundation, the Kristallen TV Award, and was named Role Model of the Year 2019, Swedish Enterprise Gala.
Joakim has toured Sweden with "A Sustainable Talkshow," a traveling lecture series with expert guests in different fields of conservation. Odelberg was part of the Swedish delegation to the 2017 United Nations Oceans Conference in New York.
Alexander More is an award-winning climate scientist, historian, photographer and explorer. He is Assistant Research Professor at the Climate Change Institute and holds an appointment in the Department of History at Harvard University, where he also teaches and earned his PhD with a book on public health and environmental change in the pre-industrial world.
With research projects spanning four continents and multiple expeditions, Dr. More uses cutting-edge tools to engage the public in the realities of climate change and the quest for solutions to it. Dr. More leads a project on the impact of environmental change on human and ecosystem health and the economy. He is one of the founders of the discipline of archaeoscience, combining natural, historical and archaeological records in landmark articles and interviews featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, Popular Science, Natural History Magazine, and more than 150 other print and online publications worldwide.
Having learned to dive at age four, Dr. More has accumulated more than 1500 hours in underwater expeditions and surveys. He served as a staffer in the U.S. Senate, he is a fellow of the Explorers Club and he is currently Managing Director of the World Ocean Forum. Raised and educated in southern Italy and Greece in the early part of his life, More moved permanently to New York City on his own to complete his secondary education. He attended college in Chicago and eventually Washington University in St. Louis. Immediately after graduation, he continued his studies in an interdisciplinary PhD program at Harvard University, where he earned multiple awards and remains today.
Lucy Woodall is a marine biologist with a passion for the aquatic world. Her microplastics research was the first to reveal the ubiquity of this pollutant in the deep sea which led to further work on marine debris in our most remote oceans. She leads the scientific research at Nekton, sits on the IUCN SSC for seahorses and pipefish, and provides expert opinion for international marine management organization and national governments.
Woodall is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Zoology at University of Oxford. She participated in the 2019 Weddell Sea Expedition - an Explorers Club flag expedition - to study the Larsen C iceshelf and attempt to locate the wreck of the Endurance.
Her PhD on the conservation genetics of European seahorses provided valuable research for captive breeding and international monitoring programmes. While her work broadly focuses on the processes that drive biodiversity in the marine biome, including the impacts of human activities, she has also worked in coastal and deep sea habitats and is an expert in marine litter.
Since he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 11, Richard Wiese has circled the globe, capturing powerful images and living one adventure after another; from traveling with Bedouins in Africa to cross-country skiing to the North Pole. In 2002, Richard became the youngest president in the history of The Explorers Club and currently serves as its President. Richard's philosophy and the premise of his ABC TV show Born to Explore is as much about discovery of the natural world as it is about encouraging a positive understanding of the many distinctive cultures on Earth. Wiese is dedicated to working with local communities around the world to help their voices be heard in their own words. He believes the most memorable aspect of any journey is not about reaching "the summit," but the people you meet along the way.
Richard has journeyed to all seven continents, tagging jaguars in the Yucatan jungles, leading expeditions to Australia's Northern Territory and participating in the largest medical expedition ever conducted on Mt. Everest. He also achieved the first ascent of an unclimbed mountain in Alaska and discovered 29 new life forms on Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro. He has won two Daytime Emmy Awards and has earned 13 Emmy® nominations, as well as 24 Telly Awards, 4 Parents' Choice Awards and a CINE Golden Eagle. Richard has received numerous other honors, including a Genesis Award, an Associated Press Folio Award, a Golden Halo Award and the 2012 Walter Cronkite Award for his contributions to journalism and exploration. He is the author of Born to Explore: How To Be A Backyard Adventurer (Harper Collins 2009). He was honored at the 2005 Boy Scout National Jamboree where he addressed 90,000 people and had a camp named after him. ?
Tim Jarvis is an environmental scientist, author, and adventurer based in Australia. He has undertaken unsupported expeditions to the world's most remote regions. His expeditions include the South Pole, High Arctic, Australia's largest desert, the Great Victoria and retracing the polar journey of Sir Douglas Mawson using 100 year old gear, equipment and starvation rations used in 1913. In 2013, Tim led the first authentic retracing of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's "double," sailing a replica James Caird boat 1500km across the Southern Ocean from Elephant Island, Antarctica to South Georgia and climbing over South Georgia's mountainous interior using the same rudimentary equipment, period clothing and technology as Shackleton.
A Discovery Channel-PBS documentary film and best-selling Harper Collins Book Shackleton's Epic - Recreating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival have been made about the expedition. Jarvis is also co-author of the academic book The Frozen Planet jointly released with Sir David Attenborough's BBC TV series. Jarvis was voted Australian Adventurer of the Year in 2013 and Conservationist of the Year in 2016 by the Australian Geographic Society, the first person ever to receive both prestigious awards. He was conferred a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to environment, community and exploration in 2010. In November 2014, Jarvis was made Global Sustainability Ambassador by WWF. He received the prestigious Bettison James award for documentary film in 2016 for his latest project 25Zero that highlights climate change through the disappearance of melting equatorial glaciers.
Christine Spiten is Co-Founder of Blueye Robotics, developers of the Blueye Pioneer underwater drone that allows anyone to explore the ocean down to 150m depth from a smartphone. She is a Co-Captain at EntrepreneurShip One, a company dedicated to creating a platform for other sustainability oriented startups. She holds an M.Sc. in Industrial Economics and Technology Management from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, a degree in underwater robotics from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and has studied International Entrepreneurship at University of California, Berkeley.
Spiten is a former Norwegian champion in sailing, has lived on a sailing boat for years and is passionate about caring for the ocean by focusing on increased exploration, experience and knowledge of the ocean through the use of technology, based on the belief that "You take care of what you love." Spiten has been selected by Forbes Magazine as one of the "30 under 30 most important Tech Founders," "World's Top 50 Women in Tech 2018," "Norway's 50 most important female tech founders," in 2017 and 2018, and "Top 10 Norwegian Female Tech Entrepreneurs 2018."
Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton is the Principal
Investigator (lead) of the NASA Psyche mission, Director of the Interplanetary
Initiative at ASU, and co-founder of Beagle Learning, a tech company training
and measuring collaborative problem-solving and critical thinking. Her research
concerns terrestrial planetary formation and evolution, and she promotes and
practices inquiry and exploration learning. Her mission is to create a
generation of problem-solvers. Elkins-Tanton received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.
from MIT. She was a researcher at Brown University, faculty at MIT, and a director
at the Carnegie Institution for Science before moving to the directorships at
Arizona State University.
Elkins-Tanton has led four field expeditions in Siberia. She is a two-time NAS Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow and served on the Planetary Decadal Survey Mars panel, and the Mars 2020 Rover Science Definition Team, and now serves on the Europa Clipper Standing Review Board. In 2010 she was awarded the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas award. Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton is named for her. In 2013 she was named the Astor Fellow at Oxford University. She published the book Earth, co-authored with Jeffrey Cohen, in 2017. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and of the American Mineralogical Society, and in 2018 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Dr. Lacovara has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T. rex. In his quest to understand these titanic creatures that strain the human imagination, Lacovara blends exploration in remote locations across the globe with the latest imaging and modeling techniques from engineering to medicine. When he is not excavating fossils in far-flung locations, his work is helping to shift our perspective of giant herbivorous dinosaurs from their historic portrayal as hapless lumbering prey to that of fearsome, hulking, hyper-efficient eating machines that deserve our awe and respect.
He is founding Director of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University. In the depths of its quarry, Lacovara and his team are uncovering thousands of fossils that provide an unprecedented view of the last pivotal, calamitous moments of the dinosaurs. Ken Lacovara is the recipient of the 2019 Explorers Club Medal, the highest honour awarded by the Club.
Prof. Berger is an award-winning researcher, explorer, author and speaker. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society's first Prize for Research. His work has brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Academy of Sciences and prominent advisory positions including the Chairmanship of the Fulbright Commission of South Africa, the Senior Advisory Board of the Global Young Academy and the Centre of Excellence in Palaeo Sciences of South Africa among many others. He has been awarded several humanitarian awards including the Boy Scout Medal of Honor for saving a life and the Red Cross Certificate of Merit.
His explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia and Micronesia for the past two and a half decades have resulted in many new discoveries, including two new species of early human relatives - Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. His contributions to exploration sciences have also resulted in advances in the field of applied exploration methods and the application of technology to exploration, excavation and discovery.
Berger is the author of more than two hundred scholarly and popular works including more than 100 refereed papers and a number of academic and popular books on paleontology, natural history, and exploration. His work has been featured three times on the cover of Science, and has been named the top 100 science stories of the year by Time, Scientific American and Discover Magazine on numerous occasions.
Williams is one of NASA's most accomplished astronauts, setting records in spacewalking. The veteran of two space shuttle missions, he has logged more than 687 hours in space, including three spacewalks, the highest number ever performed in a single mission. His work with NASA also continued on the ground when the space agency appointed him as director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate, making Williams the first non-American to hold a senior management position.
In 2012, he received the Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the following year Williams was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work in space exploration. He received the Order of Ontario in 2015 and the Award of Excellence from the College of Family Physicians of Canada later that year.
Dave Williams joined an exclusive club when he blasted into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, and again on Shuttle Endeavour. Having also lived and worked in the world's only underwater ocean laboratory, he became Canada's first dual astronaut and aquanaut.
In 2019, as the leader of the Five Deeps Expedition, he completed history's deepest solo submarine dive in the Pacific's Mariana Trench and was also the first person ever to do it more than once. Since June of this year, he also became the first person to voyage to the bottom of four of the world's oceans and is scheduled to dive the fifth, the Arctic Ocean, in September.
Additionally, Victor served 20 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring in 2014 as a Commander (O-5). In 2017, Victor became the 12th American to complete the "Explorer's Grand Slam" which requires climbing the highest peak on all seven of the world's continents including Mt. Everest, and skiing at least 100 kilometers to both the North and South Poles. He is also an accomplished pilot of jet fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and, most recently, manned submersibles.
Bran Ferren is the former president of research and development and creative technology for Walt Disney, as well as a designer and technologist working at the intersection of entertainment, product development, engineering, architecture, and the sciences. Once known for entertaining millions by creating special effects for Hollywood, theme parks, and Broadway, Ferren is now co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds, where he focuses on solving impossible technology challenges with previously unimaginable inventions. He was named one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company.
After dropping out of MIT in 1970, Ferren became a designer and engineer for theater, touring rock bands, and movies, including Altered States and Little Shop of Horrors, before joining Disney as a lead Imagineer, then becoming president of R&D for the Walt Disney Company. His design career has included special visual effects, lighting and sound design for many Hollywood films, Broadway shows, and World's Fairs.
In 2000, Ferren and partner Danny Hillis left Disney to found Applied Minds, a playful design and invention firm dedicated to distilling game-changing inventions from an eclectic stew of the brightest creative minds culled from every imaginable discipline. He serves on several government science, technology and management advisory boards. He has held positions as National Security Agency Advisory Board, National Reconnaissance Office Technical Advisory Group, Defense Science Board, Army Science Board, Department of Homeland Security Technology Advisory Group, Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, FCC Technical Advisory Committee, Security and Exchange Commission Technical Advisory Group, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Technical Advisory Group, US Strategic Command Advisory Board, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Advisory Group.
Laurence Bergreen is an award-winning biographer, historian, and chronicler of exploration. His books have been translated into over 25 languages worldwide.
In May 2017, Roaring Brook Press, a division of Macmillan, published his first Young Adult book, Magellan: Over the Edge of the World, an adaptation of his international bestseller. His previous book was Columbus: The Four Voyages, a New York Times bestseller, published by Viking in 2011, and Penguin trade paperback in September 2012. It was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, BOMC2, the History Book Club, and the Military Book Club, and is a New York Times Book Review "Editors Choice." In October 2007, Alfred A. Knopf published Bergreen's Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, a groundbreaking biography of the iconic traveler.
His previous work, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, was published by William Morrow in October 2003. A New York Times "Notable Book" for 2003, it is also in development as a motion picture and is now in its 33rd printing. This book was awarded the Medalla de Honor by the Asociación de Alcades de V Centenario (Spain), 2010.
Dr. Anish Andheria is the President of the Wildlife Conservation Trust, a not-for-profit dedicated to preserving, protecting and conserving wildlife and fight climate change, carrying out path-breaking conservation work across India. Dr Andheria is a member of the Maharashtra State Board of Wildlife and a member of the Steering Committee of the Madhya Pradesh Tiger Conservation Foundation.
He has been awarded the prestigious Carl Zeiss Conservation Award 2008, and is a Fellow of LEAD, an international leadership programme on environment and development across 80 countries. He has helped set up Kids for Tigers, a nation-wide conservation education program which for 17 years has reached out to nearly a quarter million school children.
He is a wildlife photographer and large-carnivore specialist, having photographed some of the most remote wildlife reserves of India. Andheria has co-authored two books on Indian wildlife and contributed to several other books and publications. He is a Trustee of the Conservation Wildlands Trust and the Climate Reality Project India and serves on the advisory board for Nature´s Jamboree. In his lectures and conservation work, Dr. Andheria has introduced thousands of young people to the joys of nature and the rationale for nature conservation.
Ian Saunders is the Chairman and Co-founder of the Tsavo Conservation Group (TsavoCon), a Kenyan not for profit organization, that has worked in support of wildlife, habitat and communities in Kenya's expansive and strategically important Tsavo region.
TsavoCon's key objective over the last five years has been to enhance opportunities and security for people living with wildlife adjacent to the officially protected National Parks thus creating greater rural stability. He is the author of the "StabilCon Brief" the philosophy and doctrine of Stabilization through Conservation, utilizing the natural environment sustainably as a tool for peace and rural stability. Saunders is vice-president of the African Environmental Film Foundation; whose mandate is to produce educational films about environmental and conservation issues in African languages.
He has spent much of his life working in Africa, the Middle/Near East and Central Asia, often during periods of crisis and conflict. During the 1990s Saunders recruited, trained and operated long-range anti-poaching teams to combat illegal activities in remote protected areas in Tanzania in conjunction with the Tanzania Wildlife Division to augment existing government operations, this operation was the largest of its kind in Africa at the time. Saunders has testified at a US Congressional Hearing regarding the security implications of international wildlife crime, clarifying how the use of ivory as a resource is used for funding terrorism, and has facilitated initial discussions and meetings with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) on the international illegal bushmeat trade and its relevance to the UK.
He is a former member of the Coldstream Guards (British Army), holds an Honours Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of East London and undertook postgraduate studies at the African College of Wildlife Management, Mweka, Tanzania.
Dr. Laurie Marker is Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). She helped develop the U.S. and international captive program, establishing the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America during her 16 years (1974-1988) at Oregon's Wildlife Safari in the USA. Dr. Marker first visited Namibia in 1977 when she brought a captive-born cheetah there to determine if a cheetah must be taught to hunt or if the process was fully instinctual.
For the next ten years, she continued traveling to Africa to learn more about wild cheetahs' conservation challenges. In the early 1980s, with collaborators at the National Zoo and National Cancer Institute (USA), Dr. Marker helped identify the cheetah's lack of genetic variation which challenges the species' survival. In 1988, she became the Executive Director of the Centre for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences, based at Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo. She continues to serve as a NOAHS Research Fellow.
In 1996 she was made a vice-chair of the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission's (SSC) Cat Specialist Group. Dr. Marker has been recognized as one of Time Magazine's Heroes for the Planet in 2000 and received the Zoological Society of San Diego's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. More recently, she was awarded the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In Namibia, her home base, she received the Windhoek Rotary Club's Paul Harris Fellowship in 2001, and in 2002 a special award from the Sanveld Conservancy, signifying Namibia's farming community's acknowledgement of Dr. Marker and CCF's contributions.
Damien Leloup is a French explorer, ROV pilot, and trained Maritime Archaeologist. Leloup started his professional life by working for Jacques Cousteau on board Calypso and Alcyone, and went on to manage and curate the first green museum of China, the Liaoning Fossil and Geology Park. In 2015 and 2016 Leloup was invited by oceanographer Professor Walter Munk to help establish what would become the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology at UCSD, with its first official expedition to the Chàm Islands, Vietnam in June 2016. Since then Leloup has become a founding Member of the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, is Co-PI on a multi-disciplinary Explorers Club Flag expedition to an Austrian Alpine lake, and has joined Flinders University as a graduate student in Maritime Archaeology to complete his Ph.D. with a dissertation studying how climate change influenced ancient civilizations, and how they adapted to it, with evidence from coastal archaeology.
Leloup will take part in an Explorers Club flag return ceremony at GLEX, as part of one of three scientific teams made up from researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute in France, and the University of Natural Resources in Vienna. They collaboratively worked on a survey along with the Walter Munk foundation for the Oceans: the biologists took the environmental samples and tracked the lake's overall health, while geologists established a bathymetric map and studied the regional geological features, and the underwater archaeology team assessed the lake's floor in search of historical remains.
Dr. Zita Martins is an astrobiologist and Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, in Lisbon. Her research explores how life may have begun on Earth by looking for organic compounds in meteorite samples and comets, shedding light on the origins of life on Earth. Due to her outstanding discoveries, Dr. Martins was appointed Officer of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant'Iago da Espada, OSE) by the President of Portugal.
She was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Imperial College London.
Has been actively involved in space research, including participation in several space missions. From 2007 to 2009 she was responsible for developing detection methods of biosignatures for the Urey Mars Organic and Oxidant detector, which was previously listed to fly to Mars on the ExoMars mission. From 2012 to 2014 she was Co-chair of the Astrobiology Working Group of the asteroid sample return mission MarcoPolo-R (shortlisted for ESA's Cosmic Vision program). She is a Co-Investigator of two ESA-ELIPS space missions (OREOcube and EXOcube), which will be installed in the International Space Station.
Emanuel Gonçalves is Chief Scientist and Member of the Board at the Oceano Azul Foundation, Associate Professor at ISPA - Instituto Universitário in Lisbon, and vice-director of MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre. His work is based in marine ecology and conservation, and over the years he has become a specialist on the design, management, implementation and monitoring of marine protected areas (MPAs), including discussions on the high seas. Emanuel has participated in a number of scientific expeditions, including the Oceano Azul Expedition to the Azores with the Waitt Foundation and National Geographic, which was instrumental in the decision of the Regional Government of the Azores to declare 15% of the archipelago's EEZ as fully protected MPAs.
Much of Emanuel's work has been in the field, which has fostered a passion for underwater photography and visual storytelling in order to better communicate ocean conservation. Having completed over 2,000 dives, his photos help communicate his extensive research in the areas of fish biology, marine ecology, behaviour, conservation, and biodiversity management, to name a few.
Emanuel was deputy-head of the Portuguese Task Force for Maritime Affairs that built Portugal's National Ocean Strategy. He was coordinator of the EU Group that approved the Convention on Biological Diversity Scientific Criteria for Identifying Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, and he is also a member of the National Council of Environment and Sustainable Development.
, is a composer, multimedia artist, and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Miller has collaborated with an array of recording artists, including Metallica, Chuck D, Steve Reich, and Yoko Ono. His 2018 album, , debuted at #3 on Billboard Reggae.
His large-scale, multimedia performance pieces include ",", commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Seoul Counterpoint, written during his 2014 residency at Seoul Institute of the Arts. His multimedia project premiered at San Francisco's Internet Archive in 2019. He was the inaugural artist-in-residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's , 2012-2013.
In 2014, he was named National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He produced , a collection of the earliest films made by African American directors, released in 2015. Miller's artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries.
His books include the award-winning , published by MIT Press in 2004; , an anthology about digital music and media; , a visual and acoustic portrait of the Antarctic, and; , on how apps changed the world. His writing has been published by , , and , and he was the first founding Executive Editor of .
Tiago Pitta e Cunha is the Chief Executive Director of the Oceano Azul Foundation and has been working in ocean policies for two decades as a policymaker in the United Nations, the European Commission, the Government of Portugal and as an independent consultant. He is a long-time advocate for the strategic importance of the ocean and its sustainable use, both nationally in Portugal and in the international arena as well.
He was a member of the General Council of the University of Lisbon, as well as the former Counselor for Environment, Science and Maritime Affairs to the former President of Portugal. In 2002 he was appointed by the Portuguese Prime-Minister as Coordinator of the Oceans Strategic Commission, a high-level working group in charge of designing the Country's national strategy for the oceans. Previously (1997 to 2002) he was a Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations, responsible for ocean affairs and represented the EU (then 15 Member-States) in the United Nations' General Assembly on oceans affairs during the Portuguese and the French EU Presidencies of 2000. He was a Delegate to the International Sea Bed Authority, where he was appointed as Vice-President of the Council. As a representative of Portugal he was within the group of like-minded Member States which lead to the creation of the UN Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. He participated as a Delegate of Portugal in the Assembly of State-Parties of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for several years. He was also an Advisor to the President of the United Nations General Assembly from 1995 to 1996.
He was awarded the 2016 European Citizen's Prize by the European Parliament for his actions dedicated to promote sustainable ocean governance in the United Nations, the European Union and in Portugal.