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Brad Matsen  

Author of "Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King" and New York Times Bestseller "Titanic's Last Secrets"

Brad Matsen is the author of "Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss," "Titanic’s Last Secrets," and "Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King," among many other books about the sea and its inhabitants. He was a creative producer and writer for the Sea Studios/National Geographic television series, "The Shape of Life" on evolutionary biology, and "The Land is Ours" on the Native American civil rights movement in Alaska.

Matsen’s articles on marine science and the environment have appeared in Mother Jones, Audubon, and Natural History, among other publications. His magazine package in "Mother Jones" earned the the Censored Project’s highest honors in 1994. Matsen has twice been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his book, "Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss," and won many other awards for his work. He received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of California at Irvine where he was a University Fellow in fiction. Matsen has also been a charter pilot, commercial fisherman, and merchant seaman, spending most of his life in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Matsen frequently speaks at venues across the country and abroad including the International Festival of Underwater Images in Antibes, the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History, and the Prologue Society of South Florida. He has also made appearances at The American Museum of Natural History, The California Academy of Sciences, and at the [email protected] speaking series.


[email protected]: Brad Matsen
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Speech Topics

Saving My Writing Life

After thirty-five years as a writer of hundreds of magazine articles, ten books, and a television series, Brad Matsen quit and joined the Peace Corps. He was fifty-five years old and the joy of writing had left him. Matsen's account of the loss and restoration of his craft is the story of a man who makes a mortal leap and nails the landing.

A Dreadful Journey into the World's Deadliest Oil Rig Disaster

When Piper Alpha exploded on the North Sea in 1988, one hundred sixty-five men died in less than an hour. Brad Matsen had to interview survivors and the families of the dead, asking them to recall the worst moments of their lives. His experience is a glimpse into the most difficult kind of story-telling, shared with an intimacy rarely encountered on the lecture stage.

The Secret Life of Jacques Cousteau

During his research for the first complete biography of the legendary French filmmaker, underwater pioneer, and environmental celebrity, Brad Matsen learned that the last ten years of Cousteau's life were shrouded in secrecy. Cousteau had been one of the most beloved people in the world when he disappeared from view. He left his family in chaos when he died. What happened during those missing years?

The Man Who Built Titanic and the Lies He Told the World

A hundred years after Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in less than three hours killing fifteen hundred people, one vital question remained unanswered: Why did the ship sink so quickly? Brad Matsen's investigation brought him to a startling, controversial conclusion that incriminates the shipyard that built Titanic and the powerful men who owned it.

Wild Salmon and the Frantic Struggle to Save Them

Should I eat wild salmon? Should I eat farmed salmon? Brad Matsen’s forty years of investigation as a journalist, essayist, and commercial fisherman bring a twist of unexpected wisdom to these questions and their surprising answers.

The Men Who Descended Beyond Sunlight

In 1930, two men who loathed each other on sight had themselves sealed into a four-and-a-half-foot steel ball and lowered on the end of a cable into the Atlantic off Bermuda to become the first men to witness life in the Abyss. The heroic adventures of William Beebe and Otis Barton transformed humanity’s relationship with the sea and began our exploration of the deep ocean.

We Are All Fish: A Story of Life, the Sea, and Dancing to the Fossil Record

All vertebrates, including us, descend from a tribe of fish that came ashore to live on land more than three hundred million years ago. Brad Matsen tells their story - and ours - in a hilarious collaboration with the artist Ray Troll whose images accompany this lecture.

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