Born on this day in Saint-Andre-de-Dubzac, France, oceanographer and undersea explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau (1910-1997) published his first book, The Silent World, as a celebration of life beneath the Mediterranean Sea.
"The greatest resource of the ocean is not material but the boundless spring of inspiration and well-being we gain from her," he explained.
The son of a lawyer, during World War II Cousteau served with the French Resistance and was awarded the prestigious French Croix de Guerre with palm for his heroics.
In 1946, the innovative explorer established the Undersea Research Group and became a pioneer inventor of marine devices including the anti-shark cage, special underwater cameras, and the Aqualung.
"What is a scientist after all?" he once pondered. "It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what's going on."
His voyages around the world on his research vessel Calypso were legendary. "From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He's belted to earth," Cousteau said. "But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free."
To safeguard this freedom, he founded the international Cousteau Society in 1973 to raise awareness, to provide environmental education, and to keep the oceans alive for future generations.
Cousteau shared his vision with the world and once explained boldly: "If human civilization is going to invade the waters of the earth, then let it be first of all to carry a message of respect."
Underwater, beyond, magic dwells. Delve!