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Famous Inventor
Jacques-Yves Cousteau - pioneered marine conservation
Jacques-Yves Cousteau - pioneered marine conservationJacques-Yves Cousteau (11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997)[1] was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, scientist, photographer and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was commonly known as Jacques Cousteau or Captain Cousteau.

 Life

 Youth and beginnings of career

Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde, to Daniel (a lawyer), and Élisabeth Cousteau. He discovered the sea in the creeks close to Marseilles where his family settled. He completed his preparatory studies at the prestigious Collège Stanislas in Paris. In 1930 he entered the Ecole Navale and became an officer gunner. In Toulon, where he was serving on the "Condorcet", Cousteau carried out his first underwater experiments, thanks to his friend Philippe Tailliez. [2]

In 1936, Tailliez lent him some Fernez underwater goggles, predecessors of the modern diving masks. Cousteau also belonged to the information service of the French Navy and for this reason, was sent on mission to Shanghai and Japan (1938) and in the USSR (1939)...

In 1930 he entered the French Navy as the head of the underwater research group. He later worked his way up the ranks as he became more famous and more useful to the navy. On 12 July 1937 he married Simone Melchior, daughter of a member of Air Liquide, by whom he had two sons, Jean-Michel (1938) and Philippe (1940). His sons took part in the adventure of the Calypso. In 1991, one year after his wife Simone's death of cancer, he married Francine Triplet. They already had a daughter Diane Cousteau (1980) and a son Pierre-Yves Cousteau (1982), born before their marriage.

Cousteau died at the age of 87 of a heart attack while recovering from a respiratory illness. He is buried in the Cousteau family plot at Saint-André-de-Cubzac Cemetery, Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France. He was the brother of right-wing journalist and Nazi collaborator Pierre-Antoine Cousteau (1906-1958). .

[edit] Invention of modern deep-sea diving

The years of the Second World War were decisive for the history of diving. After the armistice of 1940, the family of Simone and Jacques-Yves Cousteau took refuge in Megève, where he became a friend of the Ichac family who also lived there. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Marcel Ichac shared the same will to reveal to general public unknown and inaccessible places: for Cousteau the underwater world and for Ichac the high mountains. The two neighbors took the first ex-aequo prize of the Congress of Documentary Film in 1943, for the first French underwater film: Par dix-huit mètres de fond' (= 18 meters deep"), made without breathing apparatus the previous year in Embiez (Var) with Philippe Tailliez and Frederic Dumas, without forgetting the paramount part played, as originator of the depth-pressure-proof camera case, by the mechanical engineer Leon Vèche (engineer of Arts and Métiers and the Naval college).

In 1943, they made the film Epaves (= Shipwrecks): for this occasion, they used the aqualung, which was one of the improvement and the modernization of inventions of the XIXe century (Rouquayrol and Denayrouze) and of the beginning of the XXe century (Le Prieur). When making Epaves, Cousteau could not find the necessary blank reels of movie film, but had to buy hundreds of small still camera film reels the same width, intended for a make of child's camera, and these had to be cemented together to make long reels. [3]

Having kept bonds with the English-speakers (he spent part of his childhood in the United States and usually spoke English) and with French soldiers in North Africa (under admiral Lemonnier), Jacques-Yves Cousteau (whose villa "Baobab" at Sanary (Var) was opposite the villa "Reine" of Admiral Darlan), helped the French Navy to join again with the Allies; he assembled a commando operation against the Italian services of espionage in France, and received several military decorations for his deeds. At that time, he kept his distance from his brother Pierre-Antoine, a "pen anti-semite", who wrote the collaborationist newspaper Je suis partout (= I am everywhere), and was condemned to die in 1946.

In addition to this, he invented the aqualung which was the beginning of the open-circuit scuba technology that we have today.[citation needed]

 GERS and Élie Monnier

In 1946, Cousteau and Tailliez showed to the admiral Lemonnier the film "Epaves", and the admiral gave them the responsibility of setting up the Groupement de Recherches Sous-marines (GRS) (Underwater Research Group) of the French Navy in Toulon, and it became a little later the GERS (Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherches Sous-Marines, = Underwater Studies and Research Group), then the COMISMER ("COMmandement des Interventions Sous la MER", = "Undersea Interventions Command"), and finally more recently the CEPHISMER.

In 1948, between missions of mine clearance, underwater exploration and technological and physiological tests, Cousteau undertook a first campaign in the Mediterranean on board Elie Monnier, sloop bases Group of Study and Underwater Research (GERS) of the National Navy, with Philippe Tailliez, Frederic Dumas, Jean Alinat and the scenario writer Marcel Ichac. The small team also undertook the exploration of the Roman wreck of Mahdia (Tunisia). It was the first operation of underwater archaeology using the autonomous diving, opening the way for scientific underwater archaeology. Cousteau and the scenario writer Marcel Ichac brings back from there the Carnets film of diving (presented and preceded with the Cannes Film Festival 1951).

Cousteau and Elie Monnier took part then in the rescue of the bathyscaphe of Professor Jacques Piccard, the FNRS-2, at the time of the 1949 expedition to Dakar. Thanks to this rescue, the French Navy was able to re-use the sphere of the bathyscaphe to construct the FNRS-3.

The adventures of this period are told in the 2 books The Silent World (1953) by Cousteau and Plongées Sans Câble by Philippe Tailliez.

 1950

In 1949, Cousteau left the French Navy.

In 1950: he founded the French Oceanographic Campaigns (COF), and he leased a ship called Calypso from Thomas Loel Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year and equipped her as a mobile laboratory for field research and as a support base for diving and filming. In it Cousteau traversed the most interesting seas of the planet as well as big and small rivers. He carried out also underwater archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, in particular at Grand-Congloué (1952).

During his voyages, he produces many films (he got the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 for the The Silent World co-realized with Louis Malle, and of the books which contributed to diffuse, with a popularity without precedent, the knowledge of underwater biology.

With the assistance of Jean Mollard, he made a "diving saucer" SP-350, an extraordinary underwater vehicle which can reach a depth of 350 meters. The successful experiment was quickly repeated in 1965 with two vehicles which reached 500 meters.

In 1957, he was elected as director of the Oceanographical Museum of Monaco. He directed Précontinent, of the experiments of diving in saturation (long-duration immersion, houses under the sea), and was one of the rare few from abroad admitted to the Academy of Science of the United States of America. The popularity of Jacques-Yves Cousteau grew.

In October 1960, a large amount of radioactive waste was going to be discarded in the sea by the European Atomic Energy Community. Cousteau organized a publicity campaign which in less than two weeks gained wide popular support. The train carrying the waste was stopped by women and children sitting on the railway, and it was sent back to its origin. The risk was avoided. During this, a French government man had said falsely to a newspaper that Cousteau had approved the dump; Cousteau managed to get the newspaper to issue a correction.

In Monaco in November 1960, the official visit of French president Charles de Gaulle became famous because of their exchange in connection with the incidents of October and more largely in connection with the nuclear experiments. The ambassador of France had suggested with Prince Rainier avoiding any meeting; prince Rainier maintains the presence of Cousteau at the time of the visit of the oceanographical Museum. The president asked in a friendly way the commander to be nice with his atomic scientists; Cousteau answered him: "No sir, it is your researchers that ought to be kind toward us." In the discussion which followed, Jacques-Yves Cousteau deplored that the American decision not to share the nuclear secrets with France (for fear that certain French scientists, rejoined with Communism, might communicate them to the USSR) decided France to undertake its own research and nuclear experiments.

The meeting with American television (ABC, Métromédia, NBC) creates the series ' "The Underwater Odyssey of Commander Cousteau", with the character of the commander in the red bonnet inherited from standard divers) intended to rather give to films a documentary style "personalized adventures" than "didactic". On their subject, Cousteau explained: "people protect and respect what they like, and to make them like the sea, they should be filled with wonder as much as informing them.".

In 1973, along with his two sons and Frederick Hyman he created the Cousteau Society for the Protection of Ocean Life, Frederick Hyman being its first President; it now has more than 300,000 members.

In 1977, together with Peter Scott, he received the UN International Environment prize.

In 1985, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan, then president of the United States.

On 28 June 1979, while the Calypso was on an expedition to Portugal, his second son, Philippe, his preferred and designated successor and with whom he co-produced all his films since 1969, was killed, cut by his Catalina seaplane's propeller. Cousteau was deeply affected. He called his then eldest son, the architect Jean-Michel Cousteau, to his side. This collaboration lasted 14 years.

 1990s

On 24 November 1988 he was elected to the French Academy, chair 17, succeeding Jean Delay. His official reception under the Cupola took place on June 22, 1989, the response to his speech of reception being pronounced by Bertrand Poirot-Delpech. After his death, he was replaced under the Cupola on 28 May 1998 by Érik Orsenna.

In June 1990, the composer Jean Michel Jarre paid homage to the commander by entitling his new album "While waiting for Cousteau".

On 2 December 1990, his wife Simone Cousteau died of cancer. This woman of great character who had spent more time than her husband on board Calypso was the égérie' of the Cousteau team.

In June 1991, in Paris, Jacques-Yves Cousteau remarried, to Francine Triplet, of which he had (before this marriage) 2 children, Diane and Pierre-Yves. Francine Cousteau currently continues her husband's work as the head of the Cousteau Foundation and Cousteau Society. As from this moment, the relations between Jacques-Yves and his elder son worsened. Jacques-Yves puts an end to their collaboration.

In November 1991, Cousteau gave an interview to the UNESCO courier, in which he stated that he was pro human population control and population decrease. The full article text can be found online[4].

In 1996, he prosecuted his son who wished to open a holiday centre "Cousteau" in the Fiji Islands.

On January 11, 1996, Calypso was rammed and sunk in Singapore harbour by a barge. The Calypso was refloated and towed home to France.

In 1992, he was invited to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations' International Conference on Environment and Development, and then he became a regular consultant for the UN and the World Bank.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau died on 25 June 1997 in Paris, aged 87. His death was strongly felt in the United States, where he was one of the most popular Frenchmen. He was buried in the family vault at Saint-André-de-Cubzac in France. A homage was paid to him by the city by the inauguration of a "rue du Commandant Cousteau", a street which runs out to his native house, where a commemorative plate was affixed.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau during his life received these distinctions:

    * Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur
    * Grand-Croix de l'Ordre national du Mérite
    * Croix de guerre 1939-1945
    * Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Maritime
    * Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

 Marine exploration

According to his first book, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure (1953), Cousteau started skindiving—with a mask, snorkel, and fins with Frédéric Dumas and Philippe Tailliez in 1948. In 1943, he tried out the first prototype aqua-lung — designed by Cousteau and Émile Gagnan — which made lengthy underwater exploration possible for the first time. This greatly helped to improve today's knowledge of the underwater world.

 Biology

Before the echolocation abilities of porpoises were discovered, Cousteau suggested that they might exist. In his first book, The Silent World (1953, pp. 206-207), he reported that his research vessel, the Élie Monier, was heading to the Straits of Gibraltar and noticed a group of porpoises following them. Cousteau changed course a few degrees off the optimal course to the center of the strait, and the porpoises followed for a few minutes, then diverged toward mid-channel again. It was evident that they knew where the optimal course lay, even if the humans did not. Cousteau concluded that the cetaceans had something like sonar, which was a relatively new feature on submarines. He was right.

 Defense of the environment

The intellectual heritage that Jacques Grob and especially Philippe Tailliez transmitted to him in the years 1935, namely an environmental and geonomic vision of the sea and Earth, was superimposed in Jacques-Yves Cousteau with a mentality of conqueror, nourished cultivated explorer of the spirit of Jules Verne, and liking like this one to fill the public with wonder. "One protects what one likes.", Cousteau repeated, "and one likes what enchanted us." The oceanographic and cinematographic campaigns of Cousteau having taken place for more than 50 years (1945-1997), it could measure the degradation of the in-situ mediums: the conqueror-explorer, sure of the power of the technique and finding normal to drive out the marine animals, gradually changed to a burning conservationist who made profitable his world notoriety to promote the idea of the Earth, a limited and fragile spaceship, needing to be preserved. He was the only one not a politician who took part in the Summit of Rio in 1992.

After 1975, he considered for one moment to found worldwide Cousteau Clubs of young people, but finally this idea (which would have meant for its Team much work and few financial rewards) resulted only in publishing fanzines (Calypso Log, Le Dauphin) and in a voyage filmed in the Antarctic with children. It also refused to engage in policy at the side of the ecologists, not to give prizes to the personal attacks of the adversaries. Towards the end of his life, he became pessimistic and even misanthropist: An ideal planet, he affirmed to Yves Paccalet, would be a ground where humanity is limited to 100,000 people, but educated and respectful of nature.

The media power of Jacques-Yves Cousteau rested mainly on his image and that of a team linked with the same aim. Unfortunately, of the so publicised family conflicts they, of internal divisions and the consecutive lawsuits chipped this image, and the successors: his/her son Jean-Michel Cousteau and his grandson Fabien Cousteau on a side, the Cousteau Team with his second wife Francine Cousteau and his children of the other, suffer from a fall of notoriety compared to the Cousteau Team of the 20th century.

On the other hand, the kind that Jacques-Yves Cousteau launched, the environmental underwater film and of adventure, goes better than ever: each year appear hundreds of documentaries increasingly beautiful (improvement of photographic techniques not ceasing), and the idea of the fragile Planet Sea and to preserve, diffused not only in the opinion, but up to the political circles who were less the environmentalists in the beginning.

 Legacy

Cousteau's legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.[1]

Cousteau liked to call himself an "oceanographic technician." He was, in reality, a sophisticated showman, teacher, and lover of nature. His work permitted many people to explore the resources of the oceans.

His work also created a new kind of scientific communication, criticised at the time by some academics. The so-called "divulgationism", a simple way of sharing scientific concepts, was soon employed in other disciplines and became one of the most important characteristics of modern TV broadcasting.

Cousteau died on June 25, 1997. The Cousteau Society and its French counterpart, l'Équipe Cousteau, both of which Jacques-Yves Cousteau founded, are still active today. The Society is currently attempting to turn the original Calypso into a museum and it is raising funds to build a successor vessel, the Calypso II.

In his last years, after marrying again, Cousteau became involved in a legal battle with his son Jean-Michel over Jean-Michel licensing the Cousteau name for a Caribbean resort, resulting in Jean-Michel Cousteau being ordered by the court not to encourage confusion between his for-profit business and his father's non-profit endeavours.

In 2007 International Watch Co introduced the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph 'Cousteau Divers' Special Edition. The timepiece incorporated a sliver of wood from the interior of Cousteau's Calypso research vessel. Having developed the diver's watch, IWC offered support to The Cousteau Society. The proceeds from the timepieces' sales were partially donated to the non-profit organization involved into conservation of marine life and preservation of tropical coral reefs.[5]

 Pop culture tributes and references

    * Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand made a song on Jacques Cousteau in 1981, under the title Jacques Cousteau.
    * John Denver wrote a song called Calypso as a tribute to Cousteau, the ship, and her crew. The song reached the number-one position on the Billboard 100 charts.
    * In 1993, Ol' Dirty Bastard refers to Cousteau in the song Da Mystery of Chessboxin' on the Wu-Tang Clan album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). (Here I go - Deep type flow - Jacques Cousteau could never get this low)
    * In Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998) there is a famous quote by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in a book which the main character, Max Fisher, reads and searches for who wrote it while progressing the story. The quote was "When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself."
    * In the Nintendo Gamecube game Animal Crossing, there is a yellow frog with a mustache called Cousteau who's catchphrase is "oui oui".
    * Two New Age composers, Vangelis (who was heavily involved with Cousteau in the 1990s) and Jean Michel Jarre, released two albums including original numbers honoring Jacques-Yves Cousteau: Cousteau's Dreams (2000) and Waiting for Cousteau (1990).
    * The band Incubus refers to Cousteau in their single Nice To Know You, off the album Morning View. ("Deeper than the deepest Cousteau would ever go / Higher than the heights of what we often think we know")
    * The 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou directed by Wes Anderson, is regarded as both an homage to and a send-up of Cousteau's career. It includes an end credit that reads "In memory of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and with gratitude to the Cousteau Society, which was not involved in the making of this film."
    * Musician Matthew Thiessen refers to Jacques Cousteau as being one of his role models in his song Trademark.
    * The Swedish band Bob Hund also did a tribute to Jacques Cousteau on their album Ingenting, released in 2002, with songs recorded in 1992-93. They refer to him as being "a brave aquanaut".
    * There is a reference to Cousteau in line 9 of Adrienne Rich's poem Diving into the Wreck.
    * The Flight of the Conchords references Jacques Cousteau in their song Foux da fa fa.
    * In season 6, episode 9 or Friends The One Where Ross Got High, Phoebe has a dream about Jacques Cousteau and declares her love for him. Mrs. Geller tells her that she thinks he's dead.
    * In the song "Twist My Arm", singer Gordon Downie of The Tragically Hip references Jacques Cousteau in the opening lyrics.
    * In Star Trek, the captain's yacht of the USS Enterprise-E is named Cousteau.
    * In an Email scam since 1989 Cousteau is said to have become a Muslim, upon seeing the Koran. [6]
    * Around 1980 a Scale Model of the Calypso research ship, complete with the marine helicopter was sold to children worldwide, along with leaflets calling for donations to the Cousteau foundation. These models are still being sold as toys. [7]

 See also

    * Scuba diving
    * Aqua-lung
    * HMHS Britannic
    * William Beebe

 Jacques-Yves Cousteau's ships

    * Calypso (ship)
          o SP-350 Denise ("the Diving saucer")
    * Alcyone (ship)
    * Calypso II (planned)

 Bibliography
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Books by Cousteau

    * The Silent World (1953, with Frederic Dumas)
    * Captain Cousteaus Underwater Treasury (1959, with James Dugan)
    * The Living Sea (1963, with James Dugan)
    * World Without Sun (1965)
    * The Undersea Discoveries of Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1970-1975, 8-volumes, with Philippe Diole)
          o The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea (1970)
          o Diving for Sunken Treasure (1971)
          o Life and Death in a Coral Sea (1971)
          o The Whale: Mighty Monarch of the Sea (1972)
          o Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intelligence (1973)
          o Three Adventures: Galápagos, Titicaca, the Blue Holes (1973)
          o Diving Companions: Sea Lion, Elephant Seal, Walrus (1974)
          o Dolphins (1975)
    * The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau (1973-78, 21 volumes)
          o Oasis in Space (vol 1)
          o The Act of Life (vol 2)
          o Quest for Food (vol 3)
          o Window in the Sea (vol 4)
          o The Art of Motion (vol 5)
          o Attack and Defense (vol 6)
          o Invisible Messages (vol 7)
          o Instinct and Intelligence (vol 8)
          o Pharaohs of the Sea (vol 9)
          o Mammals in the Sea (vol 10)
          o Provinces of the Sea (vol 11)
          o Man Re-Enters Sea (vol 12)
          o A Sea of Legends (vol 13)
          o Adventure of Life (vol 14)
          o Outer and Inner Space (vol 15)
          o The Whitecaps (vol 16)
          o Riches of the Sea (vol 17)
          o Challenges of the Sea (vol 18)
          o The Sea in Danger (vol 19)
          o Guide to the Sea and Index (vol 20)
          o Calypso (1978, vol 21)
    * A Bill of Rights for Future Generations (1979)
    * Life at the Bottom of the World (1980)
    * The Cousteau United States Almanac of the Environment (1981, aka The Cousteau Almanac of the Environment: An Inventory of Life on a Water Planet)
    * Jacques Cousteau's Calypso (1983)
    * Marine Life of the Caribbean (1984, with James Cribb and Thomas H. Suchanek)
    * Jacques Cousteau's Amazon Journey (1984, with Mose Richards)
    * Jacques Cousteau: The Ocean World (1985)
    * The Whale (1987, with Philippe Diole)
    * Jacques Cousteau: Whales (1988, with Yves Paccalet)
    * The Human, The Orchid and The Octopus (2007, with Susan Schiefelbein - first published in France one year after his death)

Books about Cousteau

    * Undersea Explorer: The Story of Captain Cousteau (1957) by James Dugan
    * Jacques Cousteau and the Undersea World (2000) by Roger King
    * Jacques-Yves Cousteau: His Story Under the Sea (2002) by John Bankston
    * Jacques Cousteau: A Life Under the Sea (2008) by Kathleen Olmstead

Films

    * The Silent World (1956)
    * World Without Sun (1964)

TV Series

    * 1966-68 The World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    * 1968-76 The Undersea World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    * 1977-77 Oasis in Space
    * 1977-81 Cousteau's Odyssey Series
    * 1982-84 Cousteau's Amazon Series
    * 1985-91 Cousteau's Rediscovery of the World I
    * 1992-94 Cousteau's Rediscovery of the World II

 References

   1. ^ Cousteau Society
   2. ^ The Cousteau Foundation page about "The Captain" confirms Cousteau biography as written here.
   3. ^ The Silent World
   4. ^ Widely quoted on the internet are these two paragraphs from the interview: "What should we do to eliminate suffering and disease? It's a wonderful idea but perhaps not altogether a beneficial one in the long run. If we try to implement it we may jeopardize the future of our species. It's terrible to have to say this. World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. This is so horrible to contemplate that we shouldn't even say it. But the general situation in which we are involved is lamentable". Full interview with UNESCO Courier digital copy
   5. ^ IWC in homage to Cousteau
   6. ^ the source for this claim and its official refute
   7. ^ Calypso model ship sold on the Internet.

    This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2008)

 External links

    * The Cousteau Society
    * About the Cousteau Society (A page by Robert Simms of Clemson University Mathematics Department)
    * NOAA summary of Cousteau Society contributions
    * Cousteau speaking to young people (.mov QuickTime movie, 1.6Mb)
    * Short biography
    * Obituary (CNN)
    * Jacques-Yves Cousteau at the Internet Movie Database
    * Find-A-Grave profile for Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    * Jacques-Yves Cousteau (A brief biography by British amateur scuba diver Dave "Hooch" Hasney)
    * Fact file by NNDB
    * Review of latest book, The Human, The Orchid and The Octopus
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