Jacques Cousteau was born in 1910 and lived for 87 years, dying of a heart attack 1997. Being a researcher was one of the many things that he was, among a French naval officer, a filmmaker, a scientist, a photographer, author and many others.
Innovating the underwater diving
Jacques Cousteau entered the Ecole Navale in 1930 and became a gunnery officer after graduation. His interest towards the sea came after an accident he had, which shortened his career in naval aviation. His first underwater experiences were carried out in 1936, when he was borrowed some underwater goggles from his friend, Phillippe Tailliez. After the World War II, Cousteau
became friends with Marcel Ichac, who had also a passion about experimenting the unknown – not the depths, however, as Jacques did, but the heights, the mountains. They made a few documentary films and, in one of them, they used two of the very first Aqua-Lung prototypes. The Aqua-Lung was the first open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus that had commercial success and gained world-wide popularity. Cousteau gets credit for improving the Aqua-Lung, which later gave birth to the version known today as an open-circuit scuba.
Going for the Palm d’Or
In the 1950’s, Cousteau founded the so called French Oceanographic Campaigns. In 1953, he publishes his first book called The Silent World, in which he predicts that porpoises have an echolocation ability. In 1956, he wins the Palm d’Or with the documentary made after this book, at the Cannes Film Festival. In the following year he gets elected as the director of the Oceanographical Museum of Monaco and gets admitted to the United States Academy of Science. In the next few years he writes several other books, he gets a TV series which runs for ten years, named The Undersea world of Jacque Cousteau. After this series was stopped he had another one running for another five years called The Cousteau Odyssey.
He gets plenty of acknowledgements during his life. One of them is the Presidential Medal of Freedom which he gets from Ronald Reagan in 1985. Another one would be the title of one of Jean Michel Jarre’s album, named Waiting for Cousteau, after the artist had composed music for one of his documentaries. Jacques Cousteau dies of a heart attack in 1997, at the age of 87, and is buried in a Romanian Catholic funeral, despite the rumors that he had been converted to Islam.