Cousteau, Jacques-Yves

Cousteau, Jacques-Yves
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
b. 11 June 1910 Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
French marine explorer who invented the aqualung.
He was the son of a country lawyer who became legal advisor and travelling companion to certain rich Americans. At an early age Cousteau acquired a love of travel, of the sea and of cinematography: he made his first film at the age of 13. After an interrupted education he nevertheless passed the difficult entrance examination to the Ecole Navale in Brest, but his naval career was cut short in 1936 by injuries received in a serious motor accident. For his long recuperation he was drafted to Toulon. There he met Philippe Tailliez, a fellow naval officer, and Frédéric Dumas, a champion spearfisher, with whom he formed a long association and began to develop his underwater swimming and photography. He apparently took little part in the Second World War, but under cover he applied his photographic skills to espionage, for which he was awarded the Légion d'honneur after the war.
Cousteau sought greater freedom of movement underwater and, with Emile Gagnan, who worked in the laboratory of Air Liquide, he began experimenting to improve portable underwater breathing apparatus. As a result, in 1943 they invented the aqualung. Its simple design and robust construction provided a reliable and low-cost unit and revolutionized scientific and recreational diving. Gagnan shunned publicity, but Cousteau revelled in the new freedom to explore and photograph underwater and exploited the publicity potential to the full.
The Undersea Research Group was set up by the French Navy in 1944 and, based in Toulon, it provided Cousteau with the Opportunity to develop underwater exploration and filming techniques and equipment. Its first aims were minesweeping and exploration, but in 1948 Cousteau pioneered an extension to marine archaeology. In 1950 he raised the funds to acquire a surplus US-built minesweeper, which he fitted out to further his quest for exploration and adventure and named Calypso. Cousteau also sought and achieved public acclaim with the publication in 1953 of The Silent World, an account of his submarine observations, illustrated by his own brilliant photography. The book was an immediate success and was translated into twenty-two languages. In 1955 Calypso sailed through the Red Sea and the western Indian Ocean, and the outcome was a film bearing the same title as the book: it won an Oscar and the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival. This was his favoured medium for the expression of his ideas and observations, and a stream of films on the same theme kept his name before the public.
Cousteau's fame earned him appointment by Prince Rainier as Director of the Oceanographie Institute in Monaco in 1957, a post he held until 1988. With its museum and research centre, it offered Cousteau a useful base for his worldwide activities.
In the 1980s Cousteau turned again to technological development. Like others before him, he was concerned to reduce ships' fuel consumption by harnessing wind power. True to form, he raised grants from various sources to fund research and enlisted technical help, namely Lucien Malavard, Professor of Aerodynamics at the Sorbonne. Malavard designed a 44 ft (13.4 m) high non-rotating cylinder, which was fitted onto a catamaran hull, christened Moulin à vent. It was intended that its maiden Atlantic crossing in 1983 should herald a new age in ship propulsion, with large royalties to Cousteau. Unfortunately the vessel was damaged in a storm and limped to the USA under diesel power. A more robust vessel, the Alcyone, was fitted with two "Turbosails" in 1985 and proved successful, with a 40 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. However, oil prices fell, removing the incentive to fit the new device; the lucrative sales did not materialize and Alcyone remained the only vessel with Turbosails, sharing with Calypso Cousteau's voyages of adventure and exploration. In September 1995, Cousteau was among the critics of the decision by the French President Jacques Chirac to resume testing of nuclear explosive devices under the Mururoa atoll in the South Pacific.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Légion d'honneur. Croix de Guerre with Palm. Officier du Mérite Maritime and numerous scientific and artistic awards listed in such directories as Who's Who.
1953, The Silent World.
1972, The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau, 21 vols.
He produced many other titles which are listed with his films in Who's Who.
Further Reading
R.Munson, 1991, Cousteau, the Captain and His World, London: Robert Hale (published in the USA 1989).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cousteau, Jacques-Yves — (June 11, 1910, St. André de Cubzac, Gironde, France June 25, 1997, Paris, France)    The son of an international lawyer, he entered the naval school of Brest in 1930 and became a gunner officer. He became interested in the exploration of the… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • 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

  • 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… …   Universalium

  • Cousteau, Jacques-Yves — (1910 1997)    naval officer, oceanographer, filmmaker    A leading figure in the field of modern oceanography, Jacques Cousteau, as he is known, was born in Saint André de Cubzac and was educated at the Naval School in Brest. While serving as a… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Cousteau, Jacques-Yves — ► (1910 97) Marino, explorador y escritor francés. Autor de documentales submarinos como Paisajes del silencio y El mundo del silencio. * * * (11 jun. 1910, Saint André de Cubzac, Francia–25 jun. 1997, París). Explorador oceánico francés. Siendo… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cousteau, Jacques Yves — • КУСТО (Cousteau) Жак Ив (р. 11.6.1910)    франц. режиссёр. Будучи морским офицером, интересовался подводными исследованиями, в 1939 применил специально сконструированную им камеру для подводной съёмки. Его первый к/м ф. На глубине восемнадцати… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Jacques-yves cousteau — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cousteau. Jacques Yves Cousteau …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques-Yves Cousteau — Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1976 Nationalität: Frankreich  Frankreich …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jacques-Yves Cousteau — en 1976, NASA. Nombr …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jacques Yves Cousteau — (* 11. Juni 1910 in Saint André de Cubzac bei Bordeaux; † 25. Juni 1997 in Paris) war ein französischer Meeresforscher. In seinen Filmen war eine rote Wollmütze sein Markenzeichen. Jacques Yves Cousteau 1976 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jacques-Yves Cousteau — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cousteau. Jacques Yves Cousteau …   Wikipédia en Français

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