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RIP Jacques Piccard 1922-2008

Before there was Jean-Luc there was the amazing Piccard family.

Swiss Info reports on Jacques passing

Swiss oceanologist Jacques Piccard, one of the 20th century’s last great adventurers, has died at the age of 86 at his home on Lake Geneva.

Credited with designing submarines that could withstand the planet’s most uninhabitable environments and one of two men to reach the deepest point in any ocean, Piccard died on Saturday.

In 1960, along with United States Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, Piccard descended 10,916 metres secured inside the submarine Trieste, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench off the South Pacific island of Guam.

Jacques’s father, Auguste, was the first person to reach the stratosphere in a balloon, and his son, Bertrand, was the commander of the first team to circumnavigate the world in a balloon. Bertrand will be attempting to circumnavigate the world in a solar powered aircraft in 2011.

Piccard’s deep sea efforts were used in the development of the US space program.

6 comments

1 JimD { 11.02.08 at 10:13 am }

Thanks for this link. Great life and story. I have trouble crossing the street in traffic.

2 Bryan { 11.02.08 at 11:37 am }

Two of my early heroes were named Jacques – Piccard and Cousteau. Prescription lenses kept me from outer space, but they didn’t affect my ability to dive, something I picked up while growing up on a Florida bayou with dolphins, sharks, and rays.

I’ve gone off the oceans after a little incident in the military, but I remember the dreams.

3 jams O'Donnell { 11.03.08 at 4:29 pm }

An utterly amazing member of an utterly amazing family. I wasn;t born when he and Walsh took the Triest to the very bottom of our oceans. I’m not surprised that nobody has made the trip since

4 Bryan { 11.03.08 at 5:55 pm }

Now we do everything with robots because governments are risk adverse. I was a a freshman in high school on Long Island when they did it. One of out neighbors was an avid SCUBA divers and he was just floored with the feat because the deepest he had ever been was about 60 feet and it took an entire tank to go down and then come back up slowly to avoid the bends. He kept saying he couldn’t imagine being subjected to the weight of that much water.

A truly amazing family.

5 Kryten42 { 11.03.08 at 8:08 pm }

A good tribute to an amazing human Bryan, thanks!

I know of Jacques Piccard because of his expedition to the Mariana Trench. A story that fascinated me as an engineer. He was a great explorer, but the engineering feat was amazing also. A true man of vision and dreams, but he was the very rare type who made them real. The World needs people like him more than ever now, and one less makes us all so much poorer for it. Sadly, most people won’t even have a clue what I mean (present company excepted). *shrug*

I have to admit, it was the Piccard name that got me interesting in Star Trek: The Next Generation. 😉 I never liked Captain Sleeze… err… Kirk, much. LOL I think he shows his true nature on Boston Legal. 😉 😀

Anyway, salute to Jacques Piccard and condolences to his family. RIP.

6 Bryan { 11.03.08 at 8:21 pm }

The vehicle was initially developed with his father, as it is really the gondola that Auguste used in his high altitude balloon flights with the bracing and entry hatch reversed as the pressure is outside, rather than inside.

The US Air Force used a gondola based on Auguste Piccard’s design for its high altitude research.

Basic research is where the big payoffs occur, but you can’t convince people of that. They think that it is a waste of money. That’s why US manufacturing is almost gone – no new ideas outside of marketing.