National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

On January 31st, 2012 nearly 9,000 students from the Beaumont, Texas area visited the Montagne Center at Lamar University to participate in the 2012 JASON Project, hosted by the Jason Alliance Of Southeast Texas (JASET) 1.  The National Weather Service (NWS) Lake Charles, Louisiana joined the program, along with the distinguished guest speaker for this year’s event, famed scientific explorer and deep sea pioneer Dr. Robert Ballard.

Dr. Ballard established the JASON Project in 1989 when, after finding the Titanic, he received over 16,000 letters from students asking about his adventures. The JASON Project is a middle school science curriculum program that is designed to motivate and inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  The NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Lake Charles was once again asked to participate as a primary presenter at this annual educational function, which focused on the “Forces In Motion” theme for the 2012 event.

In addition to Dr. Ballard’s extensive credits in locating significant and historical shipwrecked vessels (e.g. RMS TITANIC [1985], The Battleship BISMARK [1989], the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown [1998] and John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 [2002]), he and his scientific  teams are also known worldwide for researching and mapping the ocean floors. Additionally,  Dr. Ballard and his teams are known for the notable discoveries of previously unknown underwater life forms, including chemosynthetic bacteria and gigantic tubeworms located near ocean floor hydrothermal vents.  Dr. Ballard also discussed an upcoming National Geographic Society Channel 2 special featuring his latest exploration projects, which includes the discovery of three ancient sailing vessels from the 5th to 7th century A.D. in the depths of the Black Sea.


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NWS Lake Charles Participates in 2012 JASON Project
Featuring Dr. Robert Ballard of Titanic Fame

Following Dr. Ballard’s presentation at the Montagne Center, the Lake Charles Weather Forecast Office (WFO) presented a pre-recorded demonstration and discussion of an upper air balloon launch, demonstrating buoyant force, which is the combined impacts of air or fluid pressure with the force of gravity. This was followed by a live demonstration of a nine-foot tall tornado generator. This machine was designed to show the wind field of a tornado, along with the impacts of debris being lifted into the tornado.  WFO Lake Charles also made daily presentations from February 1st through the 6th at Lamar University's John Gray Center, which were followed by additional scientific experiments in a classroom setting.  The classroom experiments included a hurricane simulator along with an interactive demonstration of how the forces of nature (wind) can cause significant motion in the atmosphere.


NWS Lake Charles JASON Presentation
The following PowerPoint presentation is quite large and may take some time to download, even on a high-speed connection

NWS LCH JASON Presentation banner
Click photos below for additional information and added pictures

Dr. Robert Ballard

Robert Ballard front image 

Tornado Display

Tornado experiment front image

John Gray Center Exhibit

John Gray exhibits front image

Classroom Experiments

Classroom experiments front image 


Miscellaneous front image


Click the photo below for videos from JASON 2012
NOTE: Video files on the following page can be quite large and may take some time to download, even on a high-speed connection

Videos front image


For more information on the Jason Project, click here.

For more information on Lamar University, click here.


[1] The JASON ALLIANCE OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS (JASET) was established in 2001 in a cooperative effort with Lamar University, The local area chambers of commerce, diverse members of industry and local school districts.

[2] The JASON PROJECT was founded by Dr. BALLARD in 1989 and is a subsidiary of THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY.