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National Geographic explorer Albert Lin exclusive: Lost Cities and the wonders of rereading history’s layers

Here in Ciudad Perdida, Colombia, Albert Lin uses his tablet to reveal the wooden huts which would have covered each stone terrace of Ciudad Perdida at the time of the Tairona. Pic credit: NGC/Blakeway Productions
Albert Lin uses his tablet to reveal the wooden huts which would have covered each stone terrace of Ciudad Perdida at the time of the Tairona. Pic credit: NGC/Blakeway Productions

There is no neat box of titles to describe explorer Albert Lin, whose middle name “Yu Min” translates to “citizen of the universe.”

Albert is an award-winning explorer of the National Geographic Society, a serial entrepreneur, a UCSD scientist, and a highly sought after storyteller. From the outer reaches of Mongolia to the dense jungles of Guatemala, his engineering savvy and innovative approach to exploration have created an opportunity for a new TV series — one that his National Geographic family obliged.

Lin was an academic who first applied for a grant to further his career in archaeological forensics and the fine tuning of technology used to peer into hard-to-access places.

In 2010, he got a grant for his Valley of the Khans Project, where he used satellites, drones, geophysics, and intensive ground exploration to search for the tomb of Genghis Khan.

This led him to become a member of the National Geographic Explorers society, and eventually, he got a gig as an on-air investigative reporter for the long-running Explorers TV series.

Lin’s expertise was rooted in his engineering background, and he created a platform to crowdsource human analytics of large amounts of Satellite imagery, merging remote field exploration with public participation.  His success here led him to consult at the Pentagon, the NGA, and Harvard Business School, where he was also invited to serve as an advisor to the HBS Digital Initiative.


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