Jacques-Yves Cousteau: Who was he?

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Jacques Yves Cousteau

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You have certainly heard that name again, but do you know why Jacques-Yves Cousteau is famous? Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a naval officer, marine explorer, inventor, filmmaker and environmental activist.

  • He was born on June, 11 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France.
  • Cousteau was known for his extensive undersea investigations.
  • He graduated from France’s naval academy in 1933.
  • In 1943, Cousteau co-invented the Aqua-Lung, a Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (commonly known as “scuba”). He helped to invent many other tools useful to oceanographers and divers.
  • In 1946, he started the French Navy’s underwater research group.
  • In 1951, he began going on yearly trips to explore the ocean on the Calypso ship.
  • Cousteau described his underwater world research in a series of books. The first one was The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, published in 1953.
  • Cousteau also directed films, most notably the documentary adaptation of the book, The Silent World.
  • In October 1960, a large amount of radioactive waste was going to be discarded in the Mediterranean Sea by Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA) in France. He organized a publicity campaign which gained wide popular support. The train carrying the waste was stopped by women and children sitting on the railway, and was sent back to its origin.
  • Cousteau produced and starred in many television programs, including the American series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1968–76).
  • Cousteau’s legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.
  • Jacques-Yves Cousteau died on June 25, 1997, at the age of 87, in Paris, France.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, Britannica.com, Biography.com, ioi.research.um.edu.mt