Jacques Piccard

Jacques Piccard ( born July 28, 1922 in Brussels, † November 1, 2008 in La Tour -de- Peilz ) was a Swiss oceanographer and one of the foremost pioneers of deep-sea research. He was a son of Auguste Piccard and the father of Bertrand Piccard.


After studying economics and history, he was involved as an employee of his father, Auguste Piccard, in the design and construction of deep sea diving apparatus ( bathyscaphe ) Trieste. The U.S. Navy was very fond of the submarine, funded trial dives off the Italian island of Capri, then purchased the Trieste and stated Jacques Piccard as scientific advisors to. Shortly before the record dive, the Americans wanted to exchange it for one of their countrymen, but he could successfully prevent.

On January 23, 1960 appeared Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh of the Trieste to the bottom of Challengertiefs in the Mariana Trench. They reached a depth of 10,916 meters, there was a water pressure of about 1100 bar. In various reference books a depth of over 11,000 meters is wrongly specified. The difference is due to the incorrect calibration of the depth meter, which was carried out in fresh water. He then became world famous through the press and the subject of a large media interest.

In the following years Piccard developed the dive boat Auguste Piccard. It should be made at the Swiss National Exhibition in Lausanne in 1964 in Geneva as a tourist attraction in service. The " Auguste Piccard " was given for the purpose by the Swiss government in order. In carrying out the mandate, Piccard had to deal with various scientific experts. This had indeed never set foot in a submarine, but mistrusted his submarine concept, as its designer was not a trained engineer. Ultimately Piccard plans have been approved and the boat was time to become operational. It is the largest ever built tourist submarine and the largest non-military underwater vehicle. It was carrying about 33,000 passengers in 1964 to the bottom of Lake Geneva.

In 1969 he developed the submarine Ben Franklin for the exploration of the Gulf Stream. Two days before the start of the lunar landing mission Apollo 11, the boat off the coast of Florida near Palm Beach went to sea. The crew of six international scientists led by Piccard as Head of Mission. In about 300 to 350 meters depth, the crew left drive four weeks under water with the Gulf Stream. After a successful mission visited him the German -born rocket engineer Wernher von Braun and visited the submarine. NASA was very interested in the mission evaluations in terms of new techniques for space capsules and the psychological effects during such a long mission on the crew and their performance. The findings were incorporated into the Skylab missions and the Space Shuttle program.

Then Piccard developed the submarine FA Forel, to explore the Swiss lakes. All his submersible vehicles still exist today and are partially visible as exhibits.

Piccard sat down with the Foundation, founded in Cully from him intensively for the preservation and research of marine life one. Into old age, with 82 years, he still participated in deep-sea expeditions.

For his 85th birthday, he gave the Neue Zürcher Zeitung an interview in which he said that he would also like to become an astronaut. On 1 February 2008, he was appointed and his son Bertrand to honorary doctorates from the Université catholique de Louvain.

On November 1, 2008 Jacques Piccard died age of 86 at his home on Lake Geneva, a spokesman for the project Solar Impulse media announced on the same day.

Phil Mundwiller, a spokesman for Piccard's Solar Impulse research object, stressed that Piccard had designed each submarine with which he explored the seas themselves.


Piccard dived with compressed air diving apparatus, but never deeper than 25 meters and the only to clean the windows of the bathyscaphs.

The Swiss Piccard family

  • Jules Piccard (1840-1933), chemist, brother of Paul his son Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), physicist, stratospheric flights and deep sea dives his grandson Jacques Piccard (1922-2008), deep sea explorer, scuba diving bathyscaphe Trieste experiments with his great-grandson Bertrand Piccard (born 1958 ), a psychiatrist, first non-stop circumnavigation of the world in a balloon
  • Her son Don Piccard ( born 1926 ), Stratosphere Flights