Professor Jacques Piccard, explorer and inventor, died at his home on the banks of Lake Geneva 1 November, aged 86.
The death was announced by his son, explorer Bertrand Piccard, and the other two children of Jacques Piccard, Marie-Laure and Thierry.
Jacques Piccard, born in Brussels in 1922, was the son of the noted Swiss explorer and balloonist Auguste Piccard. He studied economics and taught at the University of Geneva. The feat for which he became known was his 1960 trip to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, in the Marianas Trench, making him the deepest man ever, at 10,916 metres below the Earth, with his fellow diver Don Walsh. In the years that followed he invented four mid-depth submarines, called mesoscaphes, one of which carried tourists deep into Lake Geneva.
Bertrand Piccard Saturday wrote of his father, “With total faith in technology, he designed and directed the construction of each submarine, himself diving to the depths in his last pocket submarine up to the age of 82.
“Ahead of his time in his concern for environmental questions and with a lifelong passion for the study and protection of the seas, he spent a month in 1969 drifting 3,000 km underwater, exploring the current of the Gulf Stream. But his greatest achievement was his discovery in 1960 of living organisms at a depth of more than 11,000 m, leading to the prohibition of nuclear waste dumping in ocean trenches.”
Bertrand Piccard, the son, is a Swiss-based psychiatrist and balloonist, known for making the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, with Brian Jones of the UK, in 1999. Bertrand Piccard’s current project is build and fly Solar Impulse, a plane that will fly day and night using only solar power.