Fall Evening Lecture Series kicks off with expert in autonomous ocean robotics
Nic Radford wants us to love ocean exploration the way we romanticize space exploration.
He knows whereof he speaks. Radford is an engineer, roboticist, inventor, and entrepreneur who spent 14 years at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center’s Dexterous Robotics Laboratory at NASA in Houston. He now is founder, president, and CEO of Nauticus Robotics Inc., a company that creates and deploys autonomous marine robotic systems.
He launches the Fall 2023 season of Evening Lectures at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) with the talk, “From Outer Space to Inner Space: Developing Robots for Final Frontiers,” on Sept. 20.
“Space flight dominates our romantic thinking,” Radford said. “I’d like to see us explore Mars, but there are lot of pressing challenges here on Earth and those pressing challenges could use investment.”
Radford calls Nauticus his life’s work and says it directly ties to his 14 years at NASA. Applying technological principles his team learned from spaceflight robotics, Nauticus challenges the aging and inefficient existing service infrastructure of the offshore industries, Radford says.
“The ocean is fundamental to almost every aspect of human life but is rarely top of mind for people and research for it is vastly underfunded,” he says.
He was the principal investigator leading the development of Valkyrie for participation in the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge and NASA’s future Mars robotics missions. At NASA, he received NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal.
He hopes that the Lecture audience comes away with a deeper understanding of how the investment we have made in space and space flight can translate into the realm that dominates the planet we call home.
“Nauticus is making strides for ocean exploration and methods for cleaner energy production while challenging status quo methods,” he said.
Space investment outpaces ocean investment by 100 times, but as Radford notes, “ocean space is 20 times more valuable” as an immediate economic and social resource to our species.
The ocean, Radford notes, is a huge economic engine for humanity. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, even the day-to-day transfer of information and energy all are tied to the ocean. Radford believes it’s time to give this vital space its due.
“The resources we all use every day are connected to the ocean,” he said.
The remainder of the Fall season of the Lecture series will feature experts in pavement design, robotics, planetary science, and more. Visit https://www.ihmc.us/life/evening_lectures/pensacola-lecture-series/ to stay up to date.
Dr. Jeff Phillips
Phillips is a Senior Research Scientist at IHMC who develops mitigation strategies for common environmental, physiological, and cognitive stressors that break down optimal performance in military operators. Prior to joining IHMC, he spent six years as a research psychologist at the Naval Medical Research Unit in Dayton, Ohio. He worked almost exclusively on hypoxia in tactical aviation and served on a team that was instrumental in getting the F-22 Raptors back in operation. The Navy recognized his contributions to the F-22 project with the 2012 Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers in the Navy award.
Little’s research interests include asphalt technology, pavement design, soil stabilization, fracture mechanics, soil mechanics and foundation engineering. He has served as principal investigator on more than $35 million in research in his academic career. He is a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Little has published more than 230 refereed journal publications, over 80 refereed proceedings, has contributed five books and has given more than 420 invited lectures.
Ocala lectures will include:
Sept. 28: Dr. Alexander Fleming. In his Pensacola lecture earlier this year, Fleming spoke about aging. People are living longer, but also are suffering with multiple chronic diseases — and the exploding cost of managing those conditions — in the final and least productive years of life. In the first lecture of 2023, Dr. Alexander Fleming talked about efforts to understand how we can extend our productive, healthy years. He also touched on geroscience, a discipline focused on the biological roots causes of aging and disease, that ultimately could reduce the financial and societal burden of unhealthy aging.
Oct. 19: Dr. Lori Marino.
Nov. 16: Dr. Niranjan Suri.
Dec. 5: Dr. Morley Stone.
- STEM-Talk: Don Layman on the role of dietary protein in muscle, health, and disease
- Fall Evening Lecture Series kicks off with expert in autonomous ocean robotics
- STEM-Talk: Dr. Josh Hagen on performance lessons from athletes, warfighters
- Back-to-school means back to Science Saturdays at IHMC
- Robotics Camp fires students’ STEM excitement through hands-on learning
- STEM-Talk: Dr. Chris McCurdy on kratom and pain management
- IHMC researchers collaborating with American Magic team
- STEM-Talk: Dr. Brian Cole on advances in knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries
- IHMC honors seven colleagues with emeritus status