Though not a scientist in the educational sense, Jacques Cousteau is an explorer that Christian Heesch holds in high regard. As a marine biologist born in the 1980s, the explorations and discoveries made by Cousteau played a big part in Heesch’s desire to study marine biology and underwater mysteries. Here he discusses some of Jacques Cousteau’s most impressive feats.
- After SCUBA diving was first invented, divers were unable to stay underwater for any lengths of time, and this was something that Jacques Cousteau found very frustrating. Working with a partner, Emile Gagnan, Cousteau developed the first regulator that allowed a diver stay underwater safely for longer periods of time.
- The Cousteau-Gagnon regulator offered divers clean, compressed air as they needed it. This was very different from previous systems that forced air at all times, even if it was wasted. Hooking a compressed air tank to his own regulator, Jacques Cousteau was able to film his first underwater documentary.
- His cinematic exploits continued with his 1950 film “Silent World” winning an Academy Award. Until this point, the public had never experienced moving images of the deep sea and its inhabitants.
- In the mid 1970s, Cousteau was broadcasting a regular program on PBS known as Cousteau Odyssey. His public broadcasting series won more than thirty Emmy Awards during its run. The program received special attention because it exposed the threats of pollution and marine exploitation. Many children, like Christian Heesch grew up watching and being fascinated by Cousteau’s underwater world.