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Filmmaker, explorer James Cameron to be honored with science prize

May 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM   |   Comments

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SAN DEIGO, Calif., May 16 (UPI) -- California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography says it will honor filmmaker and ocean explorer James Cameron with its Nierenberg science prize.

The institution at the University of California, San Diego, announced it will give the Oscar-winning director of "Titanic" and "Avatar" its 2013 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

Cameron, who last year became the first person to complete a solo dive to the world's deepest point, has donated an extreme-depth unmanned undersea exploration system known as a "lander" to Scripps for the institution's future deep-sea exploration endeavors, a university release reported Thursday.

The Scripps prize to be awarded to Cameron is named for William A. Nierenberg (1919-2000), a renowned national science leader who served as the director of Scripps Oceanography from 1965 to 1986.

Cameron dropped 6.8 miles below the ocean surface in a one-man submarine to the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench on March 26, 2012, the first solo diver to reach such depths.

The lander he has donated to Scripps, used on that mission, comes equipped as a complete deep-exploration system.

"Scripps Institution of Oceanography is extremely grateful to James Cameron for his generous lander gift, which not only holds historical value but will prove to be a key resource for many significant deep-sea expeditions in the near future," Catherine Constable, interim director of Scripps, said. "The lander will help us unlock the mysteries of Earth's least explored environment, which remains a true frontier of science."

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