TED speakers discuss the 125th anniversary of National Geographic

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Happy birthday, National Geographic. The intrepid magazine turns 125-years-old this month. Yesterday, NPR’s Talk of the Nation invited TED speakers Robert Ballard and Sarah Parcak on the air to discuss the notable anniversary.

Robert Ballard: The astonishing hidden world of the deep ocean Robert Ballard: The astonishing hidden world of the deep ocean Ballard, who is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, talked about a recent expedition to the Black Sea, where he discovered a very well-preserved shipwreck. Ballard, who gave the TED Talk “On exploring oceans,” told host Neal Conan, “The deep sea is the largest museum in the world. It has more history in it than all the museums of the world combined.”

Ballard also proved that he has a photographic memory for National Geographic issues, telling a caller who described his favorite story that it came out in December 1981.

Sarah Parcak: Archaeology from space Sarah Parcak: Archaeology from space TED Fellow Sarah Parcak, who gave the talk “Archeology from space,” also joined the program to talk about her work as one of National Geographic’s emerging explorers.

“When you think about the scale of human populations all over the world and the fact that there’s so much here, really the only way to be able to visualize that is to pull back in space … It allows us to see hidden temples and tombs and pyramids and even entire settlements,” she says. “What satellites help to show us is we’ve actually only found a fraction of a percent of ancient settlements and sites all over the world. … It’s the most exciting time in history to be an archaeologist.”

Parcak said that, growing up, she kept every National Geographic issue that contained images of Egypt. “It’s both Indiana Jones and National Geographic that inspired me to be an Egyptologist,” she said.

To hear much more about the magazine — like how its second president, Alexander Graham Bell, caused a scandal when he decided to publish pictures — listen to the full interview on NPR’s website »