Jacques Piccard, the legendary scientist, explorer (and childhood hero of mine) passed away yesterday at his home in Lake Geneva.
Jacques Piccard helped his father invent the bathyscaphe, a vessel that allows people to descend to great depths. On Jan. 23, 1960, he and Lt. Don Walsh of the United States Navy took the vessel, named the Trieste, into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific to a depth of 35,800 feet, nearly seven miles below sea level. It remains the deepest human dive ever.
“By far the most interesting find was the fish that came floating by our porthole,” Mr. Piccard said. “We were astounded to find higher marine life forms down there at all.” Solar Impulse said the discovery of living organisms at such a depth played a crucial role in the prohibition of nuclear waste dumping in ocean trenches. (link to NY Times obituary)