Friday, June 30, 2006

The legendary Jacques Cousteau

Originating in a comment to a post over at DeanDad about first childhood exposure to science:

Two words, one name, a legendary inspiration: Jacques Cousteau. I watched every National Geographic Cousteau special there was, my parents bought me every one of the books he published, I read his autobiography and even wrote to him. Here was the guy who *invented* the aqualung in occupied WWII France, who bought an old minesweeper and refitted it for oceanographic exploration, who was talking about presentation and the global ecosystem in the 1950s, who traveled the world with a small cadre of guys with cool accents and dove on Mycenean wrecks and South Pacific atolls.

I was the first volunteer (at the age of 11) at our regional giant-tank aquarium--even before they opened the doors to the public. I didn't wind up an oceanographer, but I think Cousteau might have been the first person who interested me in recovering, understanding, and telling the stories of the past. Which definitely *is* my profession.

I still get choked up when I hear the brass fanfare that was the old "National Geographic" TV theme.

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