The award is presented at annually at U.C.S.D. by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Cameron is the 12th annual recipient and received the prize for his contributions to deep sea exploration.
On March 26, 2012 Camera plunged to the world’s deepest point, 6.8 miles below the Pacific Ocean surface to the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam. He made the voyage using an underwater lander built by a Scripps Institution of Oceanography engineer.
On the journey, new species were discovered and a previously unknown world was explored.
“In some of the shallower dives seeing eels swimming around. Some of the deeper dives seeing arthropods swimming around the bait. And then coming back on board and seeing what this thing brought up.”
“If you took the area of all these trenches and added it up,” said Cameron. “It’s a greater area than North America. So, somehow we managed to stumble into the 21st century thinking we’ve explored our world but having missed essentially an entire continent.”
Following the record-setting trip Cameron donated the lander back to Scripps so researchers can further deep sea exploration.
In return, Cameron received the Nierenberg Prize. The award included a bronze medal and $25,000. Cameron donated the prize money back to Scripps to fund the “Lander Lab” for future research.
Cameron recorded the entire journey in 3D. Later this year National Geographic will be releasing a documentary about the trip using his video.