Nicholas Ballard, Daniel's maternal grandfather, was a successful Dutch archaeologist. Daniel's parents both died when he was eight years old, however his grandfather chose not to adopt him and followed his career instead. One of Ballard's early obsessions had been to find proof of the legend of the Fountain of Youth. He claimed to have found evidence indicating that the source of the Fountain's power was a piece of alien technology used by early Mayan tribes around 900 BC which he had traced to Chac, the Mayan god of rain, and which he believed to be hidden in the jungles of Central America. Although Ballard never found the proof he sought, Chac was probably the Goa'uld Telchak, and the alien technology was probably the reanimation device Telchak had used as the basis of the sarcophagus technology. Many years later, Ballard's notes, which contained writings in an obscure dialect of Goa'uld, helped Daniel to locate the reanimation device in Honduras.
Ballard's greatest discovery was a crystal skull found in a temple ruin in Belize in 1971. The skull is now in the Smithsonian, but the temple collapsed and disappeared after its discovery. Ballard was driven out of the academic community because of his theory that if one were to look into the eyes of the skull, one would be teleported to see giant aliens. He had a severe mental breakdown and checked himself into a psychiatric institution in Oregon 20 years ago. Daniel had visited him regularly until just before he joined the SGC, when they had a falling out over their respective theories of archaeology and aliens. Daniel did not believe Ballard's theories of the crystal skull, and Ballard did not believe Daniel's theories that the pyramids were associated with aliens, neither realizing that both were right.
Daniel and his grandfather were reunited after Daniel was teleported to a dimension of invisibility by an identical crystal skull on P7X-377. Ballard was the only one able to see and communicate with Daniel in his altered state, and he joined SG-1 to travel back to the planet in order to find a way to reverse the skull's effect. There they encountered Quetzalcoatl, of the race of giant aliens, who remembered Ballard and invited him to stay behind on the planet in a sort of cultural exchange, an invitation which Ballard eagerly accepted.
Portrayed by: Jan Rubes
Cross Reference: Crystal Skull, Fountain of Youth, Invisibility, Claire Jackson, Daniel Jackson, P7X-377, Quetzalcoatl, Reanimation Device, Telchak
Episode Reference: Crystal Skull