IN BRIEF

In this family,

THEY HAVE BEEN INVENTING AND EXPLORING FOR THREE GENERATIONS,

from the stratosphere to the ocean depths

Everyone knows about royal dynasties and financial sagas, but never before in history has a single family had such an impact on the world of exploration as Auguste, Jacques and Bertrand Piccard. In this family, they have been inventing and exploring for three generations. The conquest of the stratosphere and the ocean depths, the first round-the-world balloon flight, the airplane that flies without fuel - Jules Verne’s universe is alive and well.

Might there be an exploration gene ? It’s more a matter of curiosity-based education, a drive to understand how the world works, respect for Nature, and confidence in technological solutions for improving human beings’ quality of life. That’s how Auguste, Jacques and Bertrand, each in his own way, succeeded in devising revolutionary machines that accomplished things that no-one thought possible. According to the writer Jacques Lacarrière : « Those three are the embodiment of humankind’s maddest dreams – becoming a fish or a bird ». But the maddest thing of all is that they succeeded in transforming their dreams into reality.

Apart from the astronauts who went to the Moon, there are no explorers who so perfectly embody scientific and human adventures of the 20th century, such as the visionary Jules Verne might have imagined them, as the Piccards.

Association Jules Verne Aventures

Exploration is sport for scientists

Auguste Piccard

© Archives Piccard

There are hardly any families in the history of exploration with a wider, more ambitious or creative vision

Neil Armstrong

For over a century, this amazing Swiss family has been striving to push back the boundaries of what is known and possible by using a subtle combination of scientific rigor, taste for innovation and thirst for exploration. The Piccards have become characters worthy of Jules Verne. These three men, one after the other, foresaw the great challenges of their time. To tell their story is to get to the heart of a family driven by a deep concern for humanity, who very early became aware of the need to preserve the planet. Editions Gallimard

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capitain william G. stearns, ii United states navy

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Les images Du pLus beau Des voyages

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Auguste Piccard

Explorer of the stratosphere,

THE FIRST MAN TO WITNESS THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH,

he paved the way for modern aviation

Best know for his exploits - incredible for that time - in the stratosphere and the ocean depths, Auguste Piccard was above all a physicist of genius. He tested all his inventions himself: the pressurized capsule and the stratospheric balloon, which opened the door to modern aviation; the bathyscaph, which settled on the ocean floor at the bottom of the Marianas Trench ; not to mention the most accurate scales and seismographs of the time. A friend of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, he was a true Renaissance man who discovered Uranium 235 and was ahead of his time with his enthusiastic involvement in nature conservation. It is no wonder that Hergé used him as the model for Professor Calculus in the Tintin series.

Auguste Piccard, born on 28 January 1884 in Basel (Switzerland), was professor of physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, and then at the University of Brussels. A friend of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, he made possible modern aviation and space exploration by inventing the pressurized cabin and the stratospheric balloon. Always testing his own inventions himself, he made the first two ascents into the stratosphere (reaching altitudes of 15,780 meters in 1931 and 16,201 meters in 1932), during which he studied cosmic rays and became the first man to witness the curvature of the earth with his own eyes. For the first time, a human being had entered the stratosphere and proved that it was possible to survive for a long time

© Hergé

The stratospheric balloon and the bathyscaph made sure he entered the history books. Tintin cartoonist Hergé gave him a place in legend, with his character Professor Calculus.

above the 5,000 meter level, considered at that time an impenetrable barrier. Since this exploit, which at the time caused as much excitement as the first Moon-walk, Auguste Piccard has figured amongst those whose inventions have changed the face of the world. The door was now open for millions of passengers to be transported swiftly at high altitude, where low air density allows for greatly reduced fuel consumption. Applying the principle of his stratospheric balloon to the exploration of the ocean depths, he invented and built a revolutionary submarine which he called a “Bathyscaph”. The first prototype allowed him to validate the concept by diving off Dakar with Théodore Monod in 1948. But bad weather damaged the buoyancy float and the submarine

© Archives Piccard

The question now is not so much whether humans can go even further afield and populate other planets, but rather how to organize things so that life on Earth becomes more worthy of living.

Auguste Piccard

had to be handed over to the French Navy. Auguste then busied himself with his son Jacques in building his second bathyscaph, the Trieste. Diving with Jacques in 1953 to a depth of 3,150 meters, he became the man of both extremes, having flown higher and dived deeper than anyone else. So it was no surprise that the cartoonist Hergé took him as the inspiration for his Professor Calculus, the archetypal brainy professor in the adventures of Tintin. In 1942, he was already preoccupied with protecting the environment and the future of natural resources, writing a pioneering article in which he called for the use of solar energy and heat pumps. He died in Lausanne on 25 March 1962 at the age of 78.

© Archives Piccard

© Archives Piccard

«My father is a scientist, you know. But during all the years he spent working in his laboratory, he always insisted on carrying out the big experiments himself, in person. He built the first stratospheric balloon to study cosmic rays. But it was also to demonstrate the potential of the airtight cabin that he had invented, in which he himself flew up into the stratosphere. He wantetd to open the door to high-altitude air navigation. This is now a reality. And we’ve opened up other possibilities too with this underwater balloon, the Bathyscaph. »

Jacques Piccard

© Archives Piccard

«It was that simple - if you want to go into unknown territory, to somewhere no-one has ever been before, you just invent a device to do it, and off you go ! That machine was indeed a balloon of sorts. An embodiment of Archimedes’ principle in all its simplicity, it sank when heavier than water, and floated upwards when lighter. The cabin protecting the observers from the water and pressure had to be heavier than the water it displaced so as to withstand the crushing pressures at great depth. So it was firmly attached to a «float», a large, light-weight tank containing gasoline, just as a balloon is filled with gas. The Trieste was filled with 28,000 gallons of gasoline, enough to keep an average car going around the earth 25 times. On the surface, empty water-ballast tanks kept the Bathyscaph afloat. To initiate the dive, water ballast was admitted to these tanks, increasing the Bathyscaph’s weight by 14 tons. To float upwards, again as in a balloon, you just needed to jettison some ballast, in the form of iron pellets held in place by electromagnets. Whatever the circumstances, you could return to the surface simply by switching off the current. So even if everything went badly wrong or the current failed, you’d just automatically «fall upwards». Only a genius could have thought up such a simple system.?»

Robert Dietz

© Archives Piccard

His twin brother, Jean-Felix, who had migrated to the USA and become a professor of chemistry, made another ascent into the stratosphere, with his wife, Jeannette. Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek was named after him. Together with Ed Yost, one of their three sons, Don, was destined in the 1960s to pioneer the development of modern hot-air ballooning.

© Archives Piccard

Auguste Piccard, Commander of the French Légion d’Honneur and the Belgian Ordre de Léopold, is most famous for his spectacular inventions, but he remains a scientific genius of universal reach. His physics thesis was on the magnetization of water. He discovered Uranium 235, which at the time he named Actinuran. An experiment he conducted aboard a balloon confirmed the validity of Einstein’s theory of relativity at a time when this was being called into question. And he built the most accurate set of scales, galvanometer and seismograph of his era. His insistence on precision was legendary, earning him the nickname «extra decimal place».

Anecdotes and questions
© Archives Piccard
FNRS 1 balloon

Exploration and scientific research balloon
Financial backer: Belgian National Scientific Research Fund (FNRS)
On the initiative of King Albert 1st of Belgium

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FNRS BALLOON
ANECDOTES
A tribute

The Belgian Scientific Research Fund (FNRS), created at the initiative of King Albert I, financed the construction of the balloon. As a tribute, Auguste Piccard named his balloon FNRS.

Flight number 13!

At an altitude of 16,000 metres (52,493 feet), in the stratosphere, the air pressure is only a tenth of what it is at sea level and the temperature is -60°C ! Man can only survive within a pressurized cabin. The first flight into the stratosphere was the 13th balloon ascent by Auguste Piccard, who made light of the number 13, quoting his friend Einstein, “God doesn’t play dice!”

Helmets must be worn!

The German authorities tried to ban the flight. Piccard was Swiss and a member of Bern Flying Club and so obtained permission from Switzerland. Then, at the last minute, the Germans decreed that helmets must be worn. Mme Piccard improvised two with materials to hand, namely baskets and cushions, enabling Auguste Piccard and his co-pilot Paul Kipfer to obtain the necessary authorizations! During the flight, the cushions served as seats and the baskets were used for storage.

No more water on board!

The pressurized gondola was painted white on one side and black on the other. The purpose of this idea was to maintain a pleasant temperature inside the gondola both by day and by night. Unfortunately the motor designed to expose the correct side to the sun was damaged during take-off. The explorers experienced temperatures ranging from sub-zero to 40°C! In such heat, water quickly became scarce on board. Condensation collected from the walls allowed them to drink a little... Because of a valve problem, the balloon took longer to return and the press pronounced dead those bold adventurers who dared to reach for the sky...

Discovered on the Gurgl glacier!

This door handle fitted to the gondola of the FRNS was lost in 1931 soon after landing... Rediscovered by chance in 1990 by an Austrian climber, it was offered as a gift to Bertrand Piccard, then a balloonist himself, in honour of his grandfather...

A record to be broken

Asked about the risk that his records would one day be broken, Piccard replied: “I look forward to the day when other stratospheric balloons follow my example and fly to altitudes higher than those I have reached. My objective is not to break records and especially not to be a record holder, but to pave the way for new scientific research and aerial navigation...”

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QuestIons sur
le ballon FnRS

Au ProF. Auguste PIccArd
et Au ProF. JAcQues PIccArd

Prof. Auguste Piccard

  • Avez-vous fait des études sur la radioactivité ?
  • Pourquoi êtes-vous monté dans la stratosphère ?
  • Que signifient les lettres FNRS ?
  • Comment s’est passé le 1er vol dans la
    stratosphère ? 
  • Quelles ont été les conséquences pratiques de vos vols dans la stratosphère ?

Prof. Jacques Piccard

  • Avez-vous eu peur pour votre père ?
  • Comment votre père était-il habillé pour ses expéditions ?
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The Musée du Léman is the custodian of the Piccard family archives, the AUGUSTE AND JACQUES PICCARD BEQUEST, AND OF A BERTRAND PICCARD COLLECTION. The Museum’s permanent exhibition traces these three generations through their inventions and achievements.

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© Gulfstream© Gulfstream
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Le professeur piccard,

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Jacques Piccard

A worthy successor to Captain Nemo,

THE DEEPEST MAN IN THE WORLD, A PIONEER OF ECOLOGY,

committed to the protection of oceans and lakes

Jacques Piccard, a pioneer of oceanography as well as environmental protection, became the deepest man on earth by diving to the bottom of the Marianas Trench – 10,916 meters (almost 7 miles) beneath the surface. After directing the construction of the Trieste Bathyscaph, he continued his father’s work by building four Mesoscaphs – medium-depth submersibles – including the first passenger-carrying submarine. During a month-long drift dive covering over 1,800 miles (3,000 km), he explored the Gulf Stream, the ocean current that is of critical importance for climate stability in the northern hemisphere. He figures among those early ecologists who drew the international community’s attention to the problems of pollution and exhaustion of natural resources.

Jacques Piccard, born in Brussels on 28 July 1922, studied economics. His contacts with the business world helped his father to raise funds for his second bathyscaph. Jacques then changed career and worked with his father to build what was to become the Trieste. He broke several records diving with Auguste, before himself becoming the deepest man on earth by reaching a depth of almost 7 miles (10,916 meters) in the Marianas Trench, the deepest point on the ocean floor, together with the American Don Walsh,. Much more than just an historic first, this dive represented a major step forward in environmental protection. By providing evidence that life existed where no-one had expected to find any, it induced governments to abandon the idea of dumping

© Archives Piccard

On 23rd January 1960, the Bathyscaphe Trieste came to rest on the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench, 10,916m beneath the surface of the Pacific. A thousand-year-old dream had come true. The final conquest of the deepest abyss put the entire ocean, with all its riches and mysteries, within reach of humanity. Just as Professor Auguste Piccard’s stratospheric balloon had paved the way for high-altitude navigation and exploration of the cosmos, so the Bathyscaphe he had invented and built opened up opportunities for deep underwater navigation.

toxic waste in ocean trenches. The Trieste is on display at the Navy Yard, the US Navy’s museum in Washington. After his father’s death, Jacques continued his family’s mission, introducing to it an ecological dimension in keeping with the times. As early as 1968, when hardly anyone was concerned about pollution, he created the Foundation for the Study and Protection of Seas and Lakes (Fondation pour l’Etude et la Protection de la Mer et des Lacs). But for him the best way of studying nature was to plunge into it. So he constructed four Mesoscaphs - submersibles designed for medium depths – with code numbers beginning PX - (“Piccard Experimental”). He died on 1st November 2008 at the age of 86 on the shores of his beloved Lake Geneva.

The public has not yet woken up to the extent and seriousness of the problem of pollution.

Jacques Piccard - 1972

© Archives Piccard

«Everything in the bathyscaph bowled me over. It was the creation of a tiny father-and-son team. The father, a physicist, engineer and balloon pilot had done the design work. The son had converted the design into reality. Together, they had dived in the Mediterranean to depths of over 3,000 and then 10,000 feet. Then, returning to the quiet of his Chexbres study overlooking Lake Geneva, the father had taken up his slide rule to ponder on new underwater vehicles. Guided remotely by him, his son continued to fine-tune and develop the Trieste»

Robert Dietz

© Archives Piccard

« No doubt about it », Jacques was an anachronism–a one-man organization with no secretaries, no assistants, almost without a laboratory and financial resources, yet in the vanguard of progress. I would even say that in his area he was at least ten years ahead of the big, traditional navies. Doing things his own way, working hard for at least 16 hours a day, and with great precision in all the instructions he gave, he had succeeded in entering a new world, the submarine world, where scientific precision is de rigueur if you want to come back alive. In his brief description of the bathyscaph for the National Science Foundation, Jacques had written : «?It should be noted that the Bathyscaph is the only existing means of permitting man to make direct observations at great depths. » And this was an incontrovertible fact. This succinct statement, in all its simplicity, opened up a new world. Since the war, the two most powerful nations on earth have spent billions of dollars on rocketry to observe space. And two citizens of landlocked Switzerland, with a few bank-notes donated by some sponsors, but above all with their slide-rules and iron wills, had opened up the deepest ocean abysses. Jacques Piccard, the Captain Nemo of the modern era, had won me over with his contagious enthusiasm.»

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© Archives Piccard

«There was something both reassuring and worrying about seeing these two men have the “effrontery” to own, develop, and operate, all by themselves, an amazing underwater vessel that had already dived 30 times deeper than normal submarines ! Generally, major projects like this are the business of navies and governments operating on the grand scale, with access to virtually unlimited resources, and with armies of officials, technicians, and even electronic brains to help them.»

Robert Dietz

© Archives Piccard

- The PX 8 «Auguste Piccard», the world’s first submarine for tourists. At the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition in Lausanne, she took 33,000 passengers into the depths of Lake Geneva, to raise public awareness about lake pollution. This Mesoscaph was subsequently purchased by Norton Maritimes Inc., which operated it in off-shore prospecting for 20 years in the Pacific and Atlantic. Its hull is now on display at the Transport Museum in Lucerne, Switzerland.

PX 8 « Auguste Piccard »

© Archives Piccard

- The PX 15 «Ben Franklin», with which Jacques explored the Gulf Stream in 1969, drifting 3000km with five other US Navy and NASA scientists in a dive that sans_marge_based a month. Hundreds of thousands of physical, chemical and biological measurements were collected to enable a better understanding of this ocean current that is so important for climate stability in the northern hemisphere. This submarine is on display at the Maritime Museum in Vancouver, Canada.

PX 15 « Ben Franklin »

© Archives Piccard

- The PX 28 F.-A. Forel, an easily transportable pocket- submarine, in which, between 1979 and 2005, Jacques made more than 2000 scientific and educational dives in European lakes and in the Mediterranean,.

PX 28 « F.-A. Forel »

© Archives Piccard

- The PX-44, a prototype of a new-generation passenger submarine, capable of series production.

Like his father, Jacques had a highly creative mind. In addition to the designs that were actually built, he also produced several dozen others for scientific and industrial submersibles, which unfortunately could never be realized, for lack of finance. Pioneers are always ahead of their time...

PX 44

Fixed shot movie« Jacques Piccard, oceanographer », n° 1153 directed on November 8th, 1997

Questioner: Jean-Philippe Rapp

Should you wish to obtain the movie, the DVD can be directly ordered through the Association Films Plans-Fixes’ website :

http://www.plansfixes.ch/films/1153/

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« As Jacques ushered me down into the cabin of the Trieste, I felt as though I was entering the inner workings of a giant Swiss watch. The side-walls were covered with racks of instruments and controls. These voltmeters, ammeters, chronometers, thermometers, cylinders, switches, coils, electric cables?—?all meticulously aligned in neat rows?– were truly where the Trieste’s heart beat . It was a small oceanographic laboratory, a genuine observation platform. The first thing to strike me was that the purpose of these instruments was shrouded in mystery. I quickly realized why. Jacques and his father had fitted everything themselves. Only they knew what actuated what, and why – but they knew it off by heart. Nothing was labeled; there was no check-list, no indications whatsoever. In the nocturnal gloom of the ocean depths, these inventors, builders and pilots, had to be able to make this strange monster perform perfectly just using the feeling in their fingertips. »

Robert Dietz

Anecdotes & questions
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mésoscaphe auguste piccard

PX-8 AUGUSTE PICCARD (1964-1984)

Test depth : 350 metres (with 2x safety coefficient)
Financial backer: Swiss Confederation for Expo 64 in Lausanne, following a proposal by Jacques Piccard in 1961.

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AUGUSTE PICCARD MESOSCAPHE

ANECDOTES

In memory of Auguste

The name Mesoscaphe comes from the Greek mesos, environment, and scaphos, ship. Jacques named it Auguste Piccard, in memory of his father who died in 1962 and who had previously perfected the design of this submersible during his early dives with the bathyscaphe trieste.

Not serious

While Jacques Piccard was seeking finance from a large American foundation to build a mesoscaphe for half a million dollars, he was told: “You can’t build a vessel like that for such a ridiculously small sum. You need at least five million dollars. don’t ask for half a million. People will think you are not serious and you’ll get nothing at all.”

On board

The mood was extraordinary, the crew was very close-knit and there were all sorts among the passengers: enthusiasts, doom-mongers, moaners... But all were excited at the idea of experiencing their very first dive. Madeleine, the young hostess, liked playing jokes on the passengers. In the summer, when it quickly grew warm, condensation formed and drops fell during the descent phase. Seated at the front near the crew, she would purposely leave the microphone switched on and say to the pilot: “Look, we’ve got more leaks...” There was a hullaballoo on board! A few words were all it took to quickly calm the passengers.

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TRIESTE bATHySCAPHE

Bathyscaphe TRIESTE (1952-1963)
Exploration and research submarine
Test depth : 11,000 metres (36,089 feet) (x2 coefficient) Financial backer: City of Trieste, following a proposal by Jacques Piccard. Bought in 1958 by the American Navy.

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TRIESTE BATHYSCAPHE

ANECDOTES

Trieste, a centre of culture

During his visit to Italy to prepare his thesis on the economic possibilities of what was then known as “the free territory of trieste”, Jacques Piccard made the acquaintance of Professor diego de Henriquez, who introduced him to different aspects of the region. The professor dreamed of making the city an international centre of culture and science and suggested to Jacques that he should move to the city in order to construct the new bathyscaphe. the decision was quickly taken. In honour of this, the submersible was named trieste.

Witness

Parodying the successor of Mohammed who had stopped before the ocean brandishing his scimitar, crying: “Let Allah be my witness that only the ocean stops me from following my road”, Auguste Piccard remarked: “I, too, could have pulled out my slide rule and exclaimed: let Neptune be my witness that only the earth stops me from opening up the deepest oceans to scientific exploration.”

Divine protection

Having never understood the relationship between shattering a champagne bottle against the hull and wishing a vessel good luck, Auguste swapped the baptism by champagne with a sprinkling of consecrated water, preferring to confide the submersible to divine protection “without which all human endeavour is in vain”...

Life in total darkness

When the trieste touched the bottom of the Mariana trench, Jacques observed a flat fish, absolute proof of life in total darkness. He dedicated it to his father: “to Auguste Piccard, inventor and professor of the absolute... To this person, who embodies the marriage of passion and reason. To this model of humanity, half-bird, half-fish and more of a man than other men, a professor of dreams...” More prosaically, the observation of this fish and of a small shrimp at the deepest level of the ocean dissuaded the Americans at the time from burying their nuclear waste in deep sea trenches...

In the Navy’s storage depots

The dive by the trieste was filmed by the American navy. Unfortunately, the reels were classified as top Secret defence. When Jacques Piccard tried to recover the film, he was led into an immense storage depot belonging to the army. “Your reels are in there, we’ll find them again one day, but we can’t say when!” In 2010, the year of the 50th anniversary of the dive, the reels still hadn’t been found... Will they be one day?

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QuestIons sur
le bathyscaphe trieste

Au ProF. Jacques PIccArd

  • Comment se sont passées les premières plongées en Italie ?
  • Pourquoi les Américains se sont-ils intéressés au trieste ?
  • Comment était l’intérieur de la cabine ?
  • Avez-vous découvert des monstres au fond de la fosse des Mariannes ?
  • Quelles expériences avez-vous menées à bord ?
  • Avez-vous réalisé un exploit en plongeant à
    11 000 m ?
  • Comment la surface a-t-elle réagi lorsque vous étiez au plus profond ?
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mésoscaphe ben Franklin

Exploration and research submarine Test depth: 600 metres (1,968 feet), with x2 safety coefficient Financial backer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, as part of the NEEMO project (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations)

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ben franklin mesoscaphe

anecdotes

Names aplenty

Named PX-15 at the time of its design, the submarine attracted many suggestions as to what it should be called. These included Argonaut, Atlantis, Sea Search, Sea Horse, Sea Master, Sea Queen, Grummer, Mer Voyager, Grummarine, Aquatief, Exploranaut, Grummanaut, Gulf Stream conquest, Gulf Quest, Poseidon, Ulysse, Odyssey. It was finally called the Ben Franklin. Benjamin Franklin is well known as a statesman, diplomat, soldier, scientist, inventor, philosopher and patriot. But Benjamin Franklin was also a leading oceanographer. He revealed the existence of the Gulf Stream in 1769, i.e. exactly two centuries before the submarine made its maiden voyage.

Life on board

On 1st August, Erwin Aebersold and Jacques Piccard, in keeping with the tradition of lighting a fire on the national holiday, struck a match. In the logbook, the time-honoured tradition was concealed by the following inscription: “the Swiss sometimes conduct pyrotechnical experiments! ”

A question of culture

When engineers arrived from the US to monitor construction of the submarine at the Giovanola factory in Monthey, Swiss practices shocked the Americans. They sent alarming messages to the parent company: “It’s the guy who cleans at night who produces the wiring diagrams!” Piccard made a correction: “It’s not the cleaner who produces the wiring diagrams, but the electrician, who of an evening helps generally to keep the premises clean and tidy, a necessary operation for the success of the project. ”

A very secret current

Jacques Piccard explained to Bertrand, aged 8 at the time, where the Gulf Stream was. Suddenly a perplexed Bertrand asked his father: “ But dad, what if my friends ask me where the Gulf Stream is, can I tell them? Isn’t it your secret? ”

Transport vessel with accessories

One can imagine that getting a submarine through customs from Switzerland to Germany might prove problematical! But no, the customs export declaration stated: "1 mesoscaphe PX-15, manned motorized transport vessel with accessories.

« Best sleep in the deep »

When Dr Robert Ballard (future discoverer of the wreck of the titanic) made his first deep dive aboard the Ben Franklin, he appreciated the comfort of the bunks and called them the “best sleep in the deep”, since usually the bunks in submarines were narrow and soaked with drops of condensation... Jacques Piccard had given his personal attention to this detail, much to the displeasure of the Americans (and also because of his height!). Given the duration of the mission, he felt it essential for the crew to be able to rest properly and detested the system of “warm bunks” in use at the time (whereby the same bunk is used in succession by several crew members).

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QuestIons sur
le mésoscaphe ben-Franklin

le mésoscaphe ben-Franklin

  • Lorsque vous êtes arrivés aux USA, vous a-t-on demandé de présenter vos diplômes ?
  • Quelles étaient les caractéristiques du
    Ben-Franklin ?
  • Quels ont été les résultats scientifiques de l’expédition dans le Gulf Stream ?
video

" This content was developed and is property
of the Musée du Léman, all rights reserved."

The Musée du Léman is the custodian of the Piccard family archives, the AUGUSTE AND JACQUES PICCARD BEQUEST, AND OF A BERTRAND PICCARD COLLECTION. the Museum’s permanent exhibition traces these three generations through their inventions andachievements.

www.museeduleman.ch

" This content was developed and is property
of the Musée du Léman, all rights reserved."

articles
hommage-a-un-visionnaire
hommage à un visionnaire
hommage-a-un-visionnaire
arreter-la-pollution
«arrêter la pollution,

un impératif Catégorique ! »

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figure De proue De l’expo :

le mésoscaphe

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the big drive:

seveN miles DowN to sea’s Deepest pit

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mécanique populaire
un-mois-dans
un mois dans

les mystères du gulf stream

Bertrand Piccard

A pioneer free from certitudes and stereotypes,

AN EXPLORER OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT MORE THAN AN ADVENTURER,

he rejects all dogmas other than all-embracing curiosity

The first surprising thing about Bertrand Piccard is the extreme diversity of his interests and abilities. A real visionary, he formulates his projects’ pioneering philosophies and sketches out their symbolic significance and relevance for the public. The stratosphere and ocean depths attracted his forefathers, but the issues of today fascinate him: sustainable development, responsibility, the fight against poverty, technologies for environmental protection...

A pioneer unconstrained by certitude and stereotypes, an explorer of the human spirit more than an adventurer, he rejects all dogmas other than the need for all-embracing curiosity. As an enthusiastic balloonist and aviator, Bertrand tackles challenges that others consider impossible. He made the first ever non-stop round-the-world flight in a balloon and launched the «Solar Impulse» project for a solar airplane, in which he flew from Europe to Africa without a single drop of fuel. A doctor and psychiatrist, he derives from his training in hypnosis and his interest in oriental philosophies a different focus, putting human beings and their quality of life in the foreground.

© Archives Piccard

«If I came back from my expeditions saying that I was motivated simply by a desire to break records, everyone around me would understand perfectly. But that’s not really what drives me. I prefer to drop the language of the adventurer and put across the messages that I really care about.»

Bertrand Piccard

A persuasive communicator, he has a striking way of always trying to build bridges between the extremes in order to develop synergies instead of oppositions. Through his books, lectures and interviews as well as in political encounters he tries to promote a human-oriented vision that leaves ample room for pioneering spirit and innovation in everyday life.

© Archives Piccard

«I shall never forget the moment when I watched the Apollo 11 rocket lift off, bound for the moon. I was 11 years old at the time. Wernher von Braun, the inventor of the Apollo rockets and a friend of my family, had invited me there. That is how I was able to observe the start live in Cape Canaveral. There and then I thought:‘These astronauts, who are now setting off for the moon, have a dream,and that dream is greater than the fear of failure. These heroes dare to do the impossible. They are doing something that no human being has done before them. That is true pioneering spirit.’ The moment was certainly a turning point in my life.»

Extract from swisscom annual report

 

videoFollowing the successful crossing of the United States with a solar airplane, Darius Rochebin welcomes Bertrand Piccard on set for his program “Pardonnez-moi”* to interview him on this experience and on his opinion as an observer and actor of the environmental world.                 *forgive me 


articles
solar-impulse
Solar Impulse

l'avion qui carbure au soleil

solar-impulse
portrait
Portrait

Bertrand Piccard

portrait
bertrand-piccard
Bertrand Piccard

Confessions d'un psy

bertrand-piccard
„mut-muss-man-trainieren“
„Mut muss man trainieren“
„mut-muss-man-trainieren“
bertrand-piccard
BERTRAND PICCARD
bertrand-piccard
bertrand-piccard-
bertrand piccard :

«explorer, c’est aller au delà des évidences»

bertrand-piccard-
first-in-flight
First in flight
first-in-flight
-egoismus-zerstort-die-welt-
« egoismus zerstört die welt »
-egoismus-zerstort-die-welt-
notre-monde
notre monde

manque de repères

notre-monde
bertrand-piccard
bertrand piccard,

l’Héritier de jules verne

bertrand-piccard
clinton-piccard
clinton-piccard

la rencontre surprise

clinton-piccard