Jyotika Virmani, Exec Director Planet and Environment at XPRIZE.

The amazing work that is being done by XPRIZE to help unlock the power of the ocean and keep it thriving for generations to come.



About this Episode

In this episode we meet Jyotika Virmani, Executive Director of Prize Operations for the Planet and Environment at XPRIZE, Jyotika shares the amazing work that is being done to help fix many of the grand challenges facing our oceans and the surprises that come along with the journey.


View the XPRIZE series here: https://www.thelindberghs.com/xprize.




Some of our favorite quotes

In order to make something healthy you need to have some kind of value to it. In order to value something, you need to understand it.
Only 5-7% of our ocean floor is mapped with high-resolution. We have better maps of the moon and Mars. We really have very little knowledge of our earth.
The mid Atlantic ridge is the largest mountain range on the planet but we can't see it because it's under water.

There are millions of shipwrecks that can teach us so much about our history.

We don't know what's right around the corner (in the ocean) that need protected because we don't know it's there.

We actually nicked-named it the Underwater Smart Sniffer.

Our XPRIZE initiatives are audacious and grand. In order to meet that, the test needs to be just as audacious and grand.

I remember thinking, okay we're doomed. But then sitting in LA traffic it hit me, we could do it another way.

Round one they had to get down to 2,000 meters below sea level and take 100 square meters of high-resolution images of the sea floor at that depth.

Every day we were scouring the news and internet to see if they had survived.

Prior to the competition mapping the ocean floor was going to take 200 - 600 years. Our goal was to prove it could be done by the year 2023.

I learned how to get over jet lag in just a few hours.

About 30 patents have emerged from this.

Although we run these competitions with multi-million dollar prizes, we are a non profit.

So there I was running around Greece at 7:30 pm trying to figure out how do I get my hands on 1,000 euro in cash when the ATM will only give me 250 a day.

If there's something you want to do, stay positive and persevere.


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Below: Overview video of the Shell Ocean XPRIZE


Jyotika Virmani, Exec Director of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.


Awards Ceremony for the Shell Oceans Mapping XPRIZE. Jyotika Virmani is front row silver dress.






Mentioned in this episode. Fisherman signs contract to receive 1,000 euro for recovering the unmanned underwater vehicle.

Mentioned in this episode. Fisherman receives the envelope containing 1,000 euro for recovering the unmanned underwater vehicle.


Mentioned in this Episode

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About Dr Jyotika Virmani

Dr. Jyotika Virmani is Executive Director of Planet and Environment at XPRIZE and the Executive Director for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, to incentivize deep-sea technology to map the sea floor rapidly, accurately, and at a higher resolution. She joined XPRIZE in 2014 as the Technical Director for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition advancing pH sensor development to measure ocean acidification. Before joining XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani served as the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and as a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office.  


She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida. As a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, with partial funding from NASA, she earned a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY at Stony Brook. She also has a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College London and is an Associate of the Royal College of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.  


She serves on the Schmidt Marine Technology Partners Advisory Board, American Geophysical Union Centennial Steering Committee, National Ocean Exploration Forum Advisory Council, Catch the Next Wave Planning Committee, and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Federal Advisory Committee.  


In her ‘spare’ time, she is producing a Science Fiction short film and writes a humorous and informative tropical storms blog.  


(Bio courtesy of XPRIZE.org)




On Amazon


Ocean Quest Team Documentary



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Lyn Lindbergh's award winning book.



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For Fun

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Erik Lindbergh, Richard Kane, and Peter Diamandis at the XPRIZE 25th Anniversary Celebration. Rocket in the background was created by Erik.

Erik Lindbergh's father, Jon Lindbergh featured on the cover of LIFE magazine.

Image from the Jon Lindbergh LIFE magazine article. 1952.

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