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John Steele

A Dramatic Demonstration

Intense international focus came to WHOI—and director John Steele—in 1985 after a team of WHOI researchers and French oceanographers discovered the wreck of the Titanic, which sank in 1912 in the North Atlantic. After Steele motored into Nantucket Sound to meet researchers returning from the find on research vessel Knorr, he declared that "Finding the Titanic is a dramatic demonstration of our present capability to explore the ocean depths for scientific purposes." While Steele recognized the benefit to oceanography from the publicity surrounding images of the ill-fated ship on the seafloor, his primary interest was in scientific discoveries about marine ecosystems. (Photo by Shelley Lauzon, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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