Professor Ford Cochran, Geologist and Program Director

Professor Ford Cochran
  • National Geographic Expeditions
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There's little that excites me more than visiting an extraordinary place for the first time—and being able to share that experience with others is thrilling.

Geologist, journalist, and educator Ford Cochran (1962–2019) was Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. He selected and managed the expert scholars, writers, photographers, explorers, and staff sent by the National Geographic Society on expeditions for travelers to destinations around the world.

Mr. Cochran studied English literature as an undergraduate at the College of William & Mary, where he edited the century-old student newspaper, The Flat Hat, for two years. He did field research on Hawaii’s volcanoes and Mount Saint Helens, with a focus on biogeochemistry and climate change, as a graduate student at Harvard and Yale Universities. Mr. Cochran earned a Master of Philosophy degree in Geology at Yale, where he was awarded competitive Global Change fellowships from both NASA and the Department of Energy. He was elected to represent Yale’s graduate students across the natural and physical sciences on the policy-making Executive Committee of the Graduate School. Mr. Cochran earned Yale’s Philip M. Orville Prize in recognition of outstanding research and scholarship in the earth sciences, along with the William Ebenezer Ford Prize for excellence in mineralogy, and he was invited to be the Honor Marshall of his Graduate School of Arts and Sciences class.

Mr. Cochran taught a number of university courses and gave the invited keynote address at the Geochemical Society’s international Goldschmidt Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also gave numerous academic presentations, including invited talks at Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Kentucky before leaving to join the National Geographic staff.
 
Over his 20-plus-year career with National Geographic, Mr. Cochran wrote for National Geographic magazine, served as principal contributing writer for its Historical Atlas of the United States, helped launch Nationalgeographic.com and directed content development and programming for the website, and documented numerous Society-funded research expeditions in the field. Mr. Cochran blogged for National Geographic and traveled as a Society expert on National Geographic Expeditions to Iceland, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, the Canadian Rockies and Pacific Northwest, and the national parks of the American West. He also joined Society research and media teams on expeditions to Iceland, Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, Chile’s Easter Island and Sala y Gómez, Florida’s Wakulla Springs, the Gulf of Mexico, and a number of U.S. national parks. Mr. Cochran led the development of National Geographic’s first interactive online atlas and its first site for K–12 classrooms, plus dozens of applications and documentary features, including websites on Jamestown and the Chesapeake Bay, the Lewis and Clark expedition, Arctic exploration, Iceland, Yellowstone, Monterey Bay, the Florida Keys, biodiversity, and habitats. His work online has earned multiple Webby, CODiE, and People’s Voice Awards, along with the American Association of Museums’ Gold MUSE Award.

Testimonials

13 Courses and Sets

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13 Courses and Sets

  1. Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America

    Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America

    Ford Cochran
    4.1 out of 5
    72% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (262)
    Starting at $349.95 Starting at $349.95 $429.95 $349.95$429.95
    From Yellowstone’s geysers to the wetlands of the Everglades, wonders never cease in North America’s national parks. Drawing millions of tourists each year, the parks capture a special place in our hearts—and in the history of how the planet came to be. Join Ford Cochran—geologist, journalist, and National Geographic programming director—on a tour of the continent’s greatest and most fascinating natural...
  2. (SET) Outdoor Fundamentals & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (SET) Outdoor Fundamentals & Wonders of the National Parks

    Ford Cochran
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    Whether you’re planning a trip to a national park or simply want to visit one from the comfort of home, prepare for your adventures with this practical two-course set. Join a highly experienced and accredited wilderness guide as she gives you the practical skills and knowledge you need to set off for the water or the woods in Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe. Then, in Wonders of the...
  3. (Set) Archaeology & Polar Explorations & Fundamentals of Photography & Masters of Photography & The Art of Travel Photography & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (Set) Archaeology & Polar Explorations & Fundamentals of Photography & Masters of Photography & The Art of Travel Photography & Wonders of the National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,459.70 Starting at $1,459.70 $1,749.70 $1,459.70$1,749.70
    This six-course set includes Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites, National Geographic Polar Explorations, Fundamentals of Photography, National Geographic Masters of Photography, The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons>, and Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America.
  4. (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & A New History of Life Set

    (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & A New History of Life

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $699.90 Starting at $699.90 $859.90 $699.90$859.90
    Get an all-encompassing view of the story of life on Earth—its origins, extinctions, and evolutions—with this two-course set focusing on the history of our beautiful planet. Start with the geological history of our most spectacular sites in Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America. Then turn to A New History of Earth looking at every milestone in the 4.54-billion-year journey from a nascent...
  5. (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & The World's Greatest Geological Wonders Set

    (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & The World's Greatest Geological Wonders

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $699.90 Starting at $699.90 $859.90 $699.90$859.90
    Our amazing planet provides us with gorgeous and amazing sites, which also serve as living textbooks to teach us about the dynamic earth. This set of two courses, including Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America and The World's Greatest Geological Wonders, gives you unprecedented views into hundreds of the world’s most wondrous locations, as well as the scientific context to understand how they...
  6. (SET) The Wonders of America's State Parks & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (SET) The Wonders of America's State Parks & Wonders of the National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    Develop a profound appreciation of, and respect for, America’s state and national parks with this two-course set. First, in The Wonders of America’s State Parks, enjoy a riveting adventure through more than 100 state wilderness areas stretching from New England to the Pacific Northwest to the Hawaiian Islands—and learn how to maximize your next visit. And in Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North...
  7. (Set) The National Geographic Guide to Landscape and Wildlife Photography & National Parks Set

    (Set) The National Geographic Guide to Landscape and Wildlife Photography & National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    Nature, in all its abundance, begs to be photographed. This two-course set shows you where, what, and how to photograph the most amazing wildlife and landscapes ever. Start by gaining a deep understanding of how to best capture photographs in nature with National Geographic the Guide to Landscape and Wildlife Photography taught by two National Geographic experts. Then, view the majesty of America with Wonders of the...
  8. (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & How the Earth Works Set

    (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & How the Earth Works

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $785.90 Starting at $785.90 $1,029.90 $785.90$1,029.90
    Learn what the Earth is made of, where it came from, and, above all, how it works with this two-set course. Start with the geological history of our most spectacular sites in Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, and then witness the history of our planet unfold in spectacular detail in How the Earth Works.
  9. (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & Polar Explorations Set

    (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & Polar Explorations

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    From the tropics of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the frozen tundras of the polar regions, this two-course set provides unmatched images and insights into amazing locations. Explore the geological history of our most beautiful and unique sites in Wonders of the National Parks, and then Polar Explorations introduces you to the nature and science of some of the most intriguing and alien places on the planet.
  10. (SET) The Great Tours & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (SET) The Great Tours & Wonders of the National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    Discover the unforgettable wonders of Africa and North America with this richly-illustrated two-course set. First, in The Great Tours: African Safari, take an exhilarating voyage alongside an experienced safari guide who will show you the amazing natural beauty of the African continent. Then, in Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, learn how majestic parks provide visitors with powerful...
  11. (Set) The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (Set) The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America & Wonders of the National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $599.90 Starting at $599.90 $729.90 $599.90$729.90
    Discover North America’s spectacular sites with this two-course set focusing on the wonders of our world. Explore North America’s spectacular bird life with a world class birding expert in The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America. Then, embark on a fascinating introduction to the geology that forged North America's national parks with Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America.
  12. (Set) Archaeology & Polar Explorations & Fundamentals of Photography & Masters of Photography & Wonders of the National Parks Set

    (Set) Archaeology & Polar Explorations & Fundamentals of Photography & Masters of Photography & Wonders of the National Parks

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,349.75 Starting at $1,349.75 $1,629.75 $1,349.75$1,629.75
    This five-course set includes Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites, National Geographic Polar Explorations, Fundamentals of Photography, National Geographic Masters of Photography, and Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America.
  13. (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & The Origin and Evolution of Earth Set

    (Set) Wonders of the National Parks & The Origin and Evolution of Earth

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $785.90 Starting at $785.90 $1,029.90 $785.90$1,029.90
    The story of Earth is filled with crises, catastrophes, and remarkable, repeated change. See this progression on a big and small scale through this two-course set. Visualize geological processes through a detailed study of our parks in Wonders of the National Parks, and then follow events from the formation of Earth to the many twists and turns in our planet’s development with The Origin and Evolution of Earth.