Plenary: Exploring Worlds Beyond the Coastline

Exploring Worlds Beyond the Coastline

Thursday, October 8

Ports are our gateway to another world. The ocean is the most fascinating place on our planet with alien landscapes and an unknown variety of life, and yet 95% of it remains unknown. Over the last decade the Schmidt Ocean Institute has been spearheading a philanthropic model to explore this world through sophisticated technology. Its research ship, R/V Falkor, laboratories, the state-of-the-art 4,500-meter capable ROV SuBastian, and high-performance computing facilities are made available to scientists and engineers internationally, at no cost, to collaborate and conduct cutting-edge science and technology development. In exchange, the data is openly shared, and the discoveries are publicly available. Advanced communications and 4K cameras livestream underwater imagery directly to an engaged global audience, bringing resolution like no other and leading to discoveries of new species and never before seen landscapes. Such innovations give us unprecedented abilities to explore hidden worlds beyond our coastline.

Speaker: Dr. Jyotika Virmani
Executive Director, Schmidt Ocean Institute (Palo Alto, CA)

Dr. Jyotika Virmani is the Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing oceanographic science, research, and exploration. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of Planet & Environment at XPRIZE and the Rainforest XPRIZE, a competition for innovations in biodiversity assessment technologies. She was also Executive Director of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to spur innovations of unmanned and autonomous deep-sea technologies to map the sea floor rapidly, accurately, and at a high resolution. Dr. Virmani joined XPRIZE in 2014 as the Technical Director for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition for pH sensor development to measure ocean acidification. Before joining XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani was the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office.

She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida. As a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY at Stony Brook. She also has a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College London and is an Associate of the Royal College of Science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and The Explorers Club and a Member of the American Meteorological Society and American Geophysical Union. She also serves on the Schmidt Marine Technology Partners Advisory Panel, Catch the Next Wave Committee, the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Federal Advisory Committee.