Aquarium presents virtual lecture with acclaimed scientist, astronaut, and explorer Dr. Kathy Sullivan


Thursday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m.

underwater vegetation and rock
View from the Mariana Trench, the deepest depths in the Western Pacific. Image credit: iStock
WHAT:  The Fall 2021 New England Aquarium Lecture Series continues in November with Dr. Kathy Sullivan, an acclaimed scientist, astronaut, and explorer. The first American woman to walk in space, Dr. Sullivan is a veteran of three space shuttle missions. In 2020, she made history again by becoming the first woman to visit the deepest known spot in the ocean, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, which is seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Sullivan will share details of her remarkable deep-sea expedition and discuss the challenges of exploring an environment that is in some ways harsher and less known than space.

Dr. Sullivan’s lecture is free to the public through the generosity of the Lowell Institute and presented virtually in partnership with Boston Globe Events. More details about the Aquarium’s fall lectures are available here.

WHEN:  Thursday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE AND HOW:  Virtually via Zoom. Register here for the free lecture. Participants will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link.

WHO: Dr. Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space during NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger mission in 1984. She completed two additional space flights, helping deploy the Hubble Space Telescope and conducting experiments studying Earth’s atmosphere.

Her esteemed career includes numerous leadership positions across government, academic, and nonprofit sectors, in addition to military service as a U.S. Naval Reserve oceanography officer. From 2014 until 2017, she served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In September 2021, she was appointed to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dr. Sullivan has won numerous awards and honors, including being inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and elected into the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a doctorate in geology from Dalhousie University in Canada, and numerous honorary degrees.

Scientist, Astronaut, and Explorer Dr. Kathy Sullivan
Image credit: Rick Buchanan Photography


The New England Aquarium is a global leader in marine science and conservation, working to safeguard ocean animals and habitats. With more than 1.3 million visitors a year, the Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston and a major public education resource for the region. The Aquarium’s research and rescue efforts build on the institution’s 50-year legacy of protecting the blue planet and advocating for vital and vibrant oceans. In the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, scientists conduct applied marine research that informs ocean management, policy, and industry practices, and contributes to the innovation of new technologies. Through its Sea Turtle Rescue Program, the Aquarium helps protect critically endangered and threatened sea turtle populations through rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts.


Founded in 1836 with a mission to inform the populace regardless of gender, race, or economic status, the Lowell Institute has reached thousands of Boston-area residents by sponsoring free public lectures and other educational programs.


Pam Bechtold Snyder –, 617-686-5068