Cousteau, Jacques-Yves

Cousteau, Jacques-Yves
born June 11, 1910, Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
died June 25, 1997, Paris

French ocean explorer.

A navy officer, he coinvented the Aqua-Lung, or scuba. He founded the French Office of Underseas Research (now the Centre of Advanced Marine Studies) in Marseille. For decades, beginning in 1950, he traveled the world in research vessels named Calypso. He invented a process for using television underwater, and he hosted an internationally successful television series (1968–76). He served as director of Monaco's Oceanographic Museum (1957–88). In his later years he issued increasingly dire warnings about human destruction of the oceans. His many popular books include The Silent World (1953) and The Living Sea (1963); his films include The Golden Fish (1960, Academy Award).

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▪ 1998

      French oceanographer, filmmaker, and inventor (b. June 11, 1910, Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France—d. June 25, 1997, Paris, France), popularized the study of marine environments through numerous books, films, and television programs that chronicled his undersea investigations. Cousteau, not formally trained as a scientist, was drawn to undersea exploration by his love both of the ocean and of diving. After graduating from France's naval academy in 1933, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. His plans to become a navy pilot were undermined by an almost fatal automobile accident in which both of his arms were broken. During his convalescence he discovered goggle diving, and his fascination with the sport inspired him to design, with Émile Gagnan, the aqualung, also known as scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), which became commercially available in 1946. Cousteau helped to invent many other tools useful to oceanographers, including the diving saucer, a small, easily maneuverable submarine for seafloor exploration, and a number of underwater cameras. He served in World War II as a gunnery officer in France and was also a member of the French Resistance. He later was awarded the Legion of Honour for his espionage work. Cousteau's experiments with underwater filmmaking began during the war, and when the war ended, he continued this work by founding and heading the French navy's Undersea Research Group. To expand his work in marine exploration, he founded numerous marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and research organizations, which were incorporated (1973) as the Cousteau Group. In 1950 Cousteau converted a British minesweeper into the Calypso, an oceanographic research ship aboard which he and his crew carried out numerous expeditions. He gained international recognition with the publication of The Silent World (1953), the first of many books. Two years later he adapted the book into a documentary film that won both the Palme d'Or at the 1956 Cannes International Film Festival and an Academy Award in 1957, one of three Oscars his films received. Retiring from the navy in 1956 with the rank of captain, Cousteau served as director of the Oceanographic Institute and Museum, Monaco. In the early 1960s he conducted experiments in underwater living in undersea laboratories called Conshelf I, II, and III. Cousteau produced and starred in many television programs, including the U.S. series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" (1968-76). In 1974 he formed the Cousteau Society, a nonprofit environmental group dedicated to marine conservation. His last book, Man, the Octopus, and the Orchid, was published posthumously.

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▪ French ocean explorer and engineer
born June 11, 1910, Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
died June 25, 1997, Paris
 French naval officer and ocean explorer, known for his extensive underseas investigations.

      Cousteau became a capitaine de corvette in the French navy in 1948 and president of the French Oceanographic Campaigns and commander of the ship Calypso in 1950. He became director of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 1957.

      Cousteau was the founder of the Underseas Research Group at Toulon and of the French Office of Underseas Research at Marseille, Fr. (renamed the Centre of Advanced Marine Studies in 1968). The inventor of the Aqua-Lung diving apparatus and a process for using television underwater, he became head in 1957 of the Conshelf Saturation Dive Program, conducting experiments in which men live and work for extended periods of time at considerable depths along the continental shelves. His many books include Par 18 mètres de fond (1946; “Through 18 Metres of Water”), The Silent World (1953), The Living Sea (1963), Three Adventures: Galápagos, Titicaca, the Blue Holes (1973), Dolphins (1975), and Jacques Cousteau: The Ocean World (1985). He also wrote and produced films concerning the oceans, which attracted immense audiences both in motion-picture theatres and on television.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Cousteau,Jacques Yves — Cous·teau (ko͞o stōʹ), Jacques Yves. 1910 1997. French underwater explorer, film producer, and author who helped produce the Aqua Lung (1943) and later developed underwater laboratories. * * * …   Universalium

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