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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Swimming Goggles Jacques Yves Cousteau was born in St. André-de-Cubzac, France, on June 11, 1910 to Elizabeth Duranthon and Daniel Cousteau. In 1920, the Cousteaus moved to New York City. There, Jacques attended Holy Name School in Manhattan. He spent his summers at a camp on Vermont's Lake Harvey, where he first learned to dive. During his teenage years, Cousteau was expelled from a French school for "experimenting" on windows with different-sized stones. He was then sent to a military academy near the French-German border, where he became an avid student. He graduated in 1929, and after passing a difficult entrance examination, he was accepted into the French naval academy, Ecole Navale. His class then went on a one-year world cruise, which he filmed the duration of. In the mid 1930s, Cousteau returned to France and entered the aviation academy. Shortly before graduation however, he was involved in a car accident that severely injured his left arm. The doctors who treated him recommended amputating his forearm, which he refused to have done. Instead, he chose to rehabilitate himself. He started taking daily swims around Le Mourillon Bay to rehabilitate his lame arm, and there he developed a passion for diving During this time he met 17-year-old Simone Melchior, after a year together, they married and moved into a house near Le Mourillon Bay. Their first child, Jean-Michel, was born in March of 1938,and his second son, Philippe, was born in 1939. In his spare time, he tried using different underwater cameras, and tried to improve his diving apparatuses. German patrols would frequently ask Cousteau about this experimentation, and although hewas able to convince the Germans that the equipment was harmless, Jacques was actually using these devices for the French resistance movement. For his efforts, he was later given the Croix de Guerre with palm. Afterwards he started his first experiments with underwater filming. He worked with two men, Philippe Talliez, a naval officer, and Frédéric Dumas, a famous spear fisher to create his first underwater movie called Sixty Feet Down in 1942. In 1942, Jacques asked a man named Emile Gagnan to help him build a better diving suit. They spent three weeks developing an automatic regulator that supplied compressed air on demand. This regulator, with two tanks of compressed air, a mouthpiece, and hoses, was the very first Aqualung, which they patented in 1943. That summer, Cousteau, Talliez, and Dumas tested the Aqualung at French Riveria, taking around 500 separate dives. The aqualung was then used on their next project, an exploration of the Dalton, a sunken British steamer. The trip provided material for Cousteau's second movie, Wreck. On July 19, 1950, Cousteau leased the R.V. Calypso, a converted British minesweeper, from Thomas Loel Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year. The next year, after going through renovations, the R.V. Calypso headed for the Red Sea. The Calypso Red Sea Expedition provided many discoveries, including the discovery of previously unknown plants and animals, and the discovery of volcanic basins beneath the Red Sea. In February of 1952, Calypso sailed toward Toulon. On the way home, the crew found an uncharted wreck near the southern coast of Grand Congloué and realized that it was a Roman ship filled with treasure. This find helped spread Cousteau's fame in France, and with the release of The Silent World In 1953, Cousteau reached international fame. The book, made from Cousteau's daily logs, was written originally in English with the help of U.S. journalist James Dugan, and then translated into French. It was released in over 20 languages, and eventually sold more than five million copies. In 1953, Cousteau and his team began working on a small maneuverable submarine, called the diving saucer. The sub has made more than one thousand dives and has been involved in many deep sea discoveries. Cousteau appeared before the first World Oceanic Congress in 1959, an event that was given widespread coverage, and led to his place on the cover of Time on March 28, 1960, which portrayed Jacques as a poet of the deep. In April 1961, Cousteau was given the National Geographic Society's Gold Medal whos inscription reads: "To earthbound man he gave the key to the silent world." at a White house ceremony hosted by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Cousteau's first hour-long television special, "The World of Jacques Yves Cousteau," aired in 1966. The show's high ratings and critical reviews helped Cousteau get a contract with ABC. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau aired in 1968, and has been rebroadcasted in hundreds of countries. The show had Cousteau and his sons, Philippe and Jean-Michel. The program ran for eight seasons, with the last episode airing in May of 1976. In 1977, the Cousteau Odyssey series premiered on PBS, which showed Cousteau's concerns about environment destruction and loss of habitat. On June 28, 1979, Philippe was killed when the seaplane he was piloting crashed on the Tagus River near Lisbon. Philippe's death deeply affected Cousteau, who was never able to talk about his sons death. In addition to television, Cousteau continued to produce new inventions. The Sea Spider was made to analyze the biochemistry of the ocean's surface. In 1980, Cousteau and his team began working on the Turbosail, a device that uses sophisticated sails to increase fuel efficiency in large vessels. In the years before he died Jacques had started planning to build the Calypso 2 to replace the original Calypso, which had sunk in a Singapore shipyard in 1994, and sits dry docked to this day awaiting repairs. The $20 million ship was going to be powered by solar panels and have equipment for a television studio, lab, and satellite transmitter. Jacques Cousteau died of a heart attack in 1997, at his home in Paris, at the age of 87.
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