Who Was Jacques Piccard?

The First Man To Reach The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench


Überprüfung einer Erdgasleitung im Bodensee durch das U-Boot Forel von Jacques Piccard / Rudolf Zündel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

“Überprüfung einer Erdgasleitung im Bodensee durch das U-Boot ‘Forel’ von Jacques Piccard / Rudolf Zündel” is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

By: Eric Yang, Journalist

When thinking of ocean engineering feats, many would think of going into the Mariana trench. Jacques Piccard was one of the men who achieved this goal, he not only achieved it but at the time he broke the record of the lowest recorded depth in the ocean (7 miles deep). If he had achieved all of those impressive feats, how did he get to that point? Jacques Piccard was born on July 28, 1922 in Belgium and his father was already an achieved engineer, setting records for the highest altitude reached with a balloon. Jacques later graduated from École Nouvelle de Suisse Romande, located in Switzerland, and afterwards he studied at the University of Geneva. Jacques later worked in studying about bathyscaphe design and their ability to go for deep water dives. Later after developing different designs he eventually tested one called Trieste. The Trieste reached a depth of 10,168 feet, and shortly after finding this success Jacques had focused all of his attention on improving the vehicle and continuing on exploration and research.

Two years later he had moved to the US to seek more funding and more research. While Jacques was in the US the US navy was also working on deep-diving submarines and underwater research, so they enlisted the help of Jacques to help the with the submarines. The US Navy had then bought the Trieste and gave Jacques the job of a consultant. After years of developing and improving the Trieste Jacques had an ambitious plan to go to the bottom of the ocean. They had descended for about five hours to reach a depth of  35,797 feet, at the bottom of the Mariana trench.

Many scientists were shocked and amused at this achievement and Jacques later had wrote a book about the experience called Seven Miles Down with the help of Robert Dietz. Robert was a geologist who had a large part to play in reaching the goal. Although it was a massive achievement it did not have any scientific use because of its inability to take photos and taking samples. The Trieste was later retired in 1961 and Piccard would later help transport tourists to Lake Genova. Jacques would sadly pass away in 2008 but all of his ideas and achievements will always be remembered and his massive achievement of reaching the bottom of the Marianna trench will be one of the greatest things ever achieved in the field of ocean engineering.