An email was sent to the SSFers earlier this week, something about greeting the Deepsea Challenger and James Cameron at the WHOI dock yesterday. My head must have been so far up in my Matlab script, because it took a Google search to realize that the director of Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar, along with the first single-manned submersible vehicle to explore the deepest parts of Mariana Trench, was going to be here!
The event started off with speeches from Susan Avery, the Director of WHOI, James Cameron, a tour of the Deepsea Challenger, and finished off with a question period. After that, I knew what the big deal was about: he is one of three people to have actually seen the deepest bottom of the ocean floor, an area apparently the size of North America, and he is donating the vehicle that he did it in to WHOI. The press bulwarked our attempts to interact with him, but I was lucky enough to shake his hand (!), get a question in, and thanks to the help of Susan, get a photo of this momentous occasion:
It is refreshing to see such a famous director, who is capable of reaching so many people, share his passion for oceanography and become involved with the scientific community WHOI. His speech focused around the importance of promoting curiosity and educating the next generation about the importance of scientific discovery. As he says, perhaps when we empower the voters with knowledge, funding and support for the sciences will follow. As an aspiring oceanographer, I definitely hope that it will, and his speech has further encouraged me to continue my involvement in departmental and outreach activities. For now though, let me just revel at how awesome he is, and how lucky we were to be able to be here.
Update: a fellow SSFer Camille just informed me that she’s on the news release video, and another, Claire, was in the article. Yay!