Sylvia Earle, called "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker, "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and a "Hero for the Planet" by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.
Earle has led more than 50 expeditions and clocked more than 7,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater in 1970, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, she walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. In the 1980s, she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies with engineer Graham Hawkes to design undersea vehicles that allow scientists to work at previously inaccessible depths. In the early 1990s, she served as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Earle speaks of our oceans with wonder and amazement, and calls them “the blue heart of the planet.” The winner of the 2009 TED Prize, she wished to ignite public support for marine protected areas, so that they cover 20% of the world's oceans by 2020.