Cover image for The lost wreck of the Isis
The lost wreck of the Isis
Ballard, Robert D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Scholastic/Madison Press Book, [1990]

Physical Description:
63 pages, 1 unnumbered page : color illustrations, maps ; 29 cm.
Dr. Ballard visits the Mediterranean to explore a Roman shipwreck site and investigate an active underwater volcano.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.9 3.0 6737.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG55.S5 B35 1990 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Dr. Ballard visits the Mediterranean to explore a Roman shipwreck site and investigate an active underwater volcano.

Author Notes

Robert Ballard was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1942, and was educated at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern California, and the University of Rhode Island, where he received his Ph.D. in 1974. Part explorer, part geologist, part oceanographer, and part marine engineer, Ballard has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Falmouth, Massachusetts, since 1969. He is currently director of the Center for Marine Exploration there.

Ballard is perhaps best known to the general public in connection to the luxury liner Titanic. Ballard organized and participated in the expedition that discovered the ship in 1985. More important, however, is his work in designing underwater survey vehicles and in participating in dives to explore the ocean floor. His work in marine design and engineering, in particular, has led to a dramatic increase in the scope of deep-sea exploration. In the 1960s, Ballard helped develop the Alvin, a deep-sea, three-man submersible equipped with a remote controlled mechanical arm for collecting specimens from the ocean floor. The device played an important role in mid-ocean studies, including exploration of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and dives to the Cayman Trough, a 24,000-foot-deep gash in the ocean floor south of Cuba.

Ballard was part of the Galapagos Hydrothermal Expedition in 1977, which discovered and investigated deep-sea thermal vents spouting mineral-rich water from volcanic cracks in the Earth's crust. In the 1980s, Ballard helped develop the Argo-Jason unmanned submersible system, the most advanced craft of its kind. Argo is a 16-foot submersible vehicle and Jason is a self-propelled robot tethered to Argo. The search for the Titanic was undertaken as a test of the Argo-Jason system; the success of the expedition demonstrated its capabilities and, according to Ballard, "ushered in a new era of undersea exploration."

The author of several bestselling books on deep-sea exploration, Ballard also contributes regularly to National Geographic and other magazines and he has produced several videotapes of deep-sea expeditions. His reputation as a "science populizer" has prompted harsh criticism from some of his scientific colleagues.

In 1985, Ballard was one of four scientists awarded a Secretary of the Navy Research Chair in Oceanography, an award that carries with it an $800,000 grant for oceanographic research.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. In the spring of 1989, marine geologist Robert Ballard (best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic) launched an innovative project combining deep-sea exploration and telecommunications. Using a camera-equipped underwater robot named JASON, Ballard and his crew excavated artifacts from an ancient Roman shipwreck (nicknamed the Isis) and simultaneously beamed live images of the process to 12 museums and 250,000 students in the U.S. and Canada. In a fascinating account of the Isis project, Ballard does a fine job of taking the reader along for the ride. The book alternates documentary chapters with historical fiction and includes many sidebars on Roman history, archaeology, and the science of underwater exploration. Ballard's first-person narrative has a conversational "you are there" quality that draws the reader in and allows a great deal of information to be imparted without ever seeming dry. The fictional sections bring fact to life with a hypothetical account of the people and events of the Isis' fatal voyage. Photographs, maps, diagrams, and artwork are plentiful throughout, and there is an extensive glossary. Adventure lovers will find this an engrossing read, as will those interested in history or scientific exploration. Bibliography appended. ~--Leone McDermott

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-8 --The importance of science is underlined in this undersea archeological adventure that discovers and explores an ancient Roman ship. In addition to the romance of an archeological search and the adventure of ships and storms at sea, Ballard shows how the principles of science are used to design and create state-of-the-art searching tools such as robot systems and fiber-optic cables. The story is narrated by Ballard, discoverer of the Titantic and Bismark wrecks. Beautiful full-color photographs illustrate scenes and action; clear, colorful diagrams explain ideas and concepts. This contemporary account is interspersed with imaginative sections that tell the story of Roman shipping in the second century a.d. from the point of view of Antonius, a 14-year-old Roman boy who is aboard the Isis when she sinks. A book that will be popular for reading aloud in the lower grades, and useful as well as interesting for older readers. --Don Reaber, Meadowdale High School, Lynnwood, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.