Russia, Born 1938
A pioneer explorer of deep oceans, Dr Anatoly Sagalevitch has spent thousands of hours underwater. As head of the manned submersibles laboratory at Moscow’s P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, where he has worked for 42 years, Dr Sagalevitch was one of the principal designers of the twin MIR submersibles that have carried him and his international team of scientists to depths of more than 6,000 metres.
Since 1990, the eminent oceanologist has served as chief scientist and expedition leader on board the MIR support vessel, piloting the submersibles on dives worldwide. These underwater operations include expeditions to study hydrothermal vents, fissures in the ocean floor known as “black smokers”; to investigate the nuclear submarines Komsomolets and Kursk; and, most famously, to film with James Cameron the wreck of the Titanic. The numerous scientific missions led by Dr Sagalevitch have greatly broadened knowledge of the world’s oceans and paved the way for further collaboration between Russian and foreign scientists to probe the deep.
In 2007, he made the first-ever descent to the bottom of the North Pole, at a depth of 4,300m. For this mission he received his nation’s highest honour, Hero of the Russian Federation.
Dr Sagalevitch and his laboratory have received international recognition on many other occasions, including, in 2002, the New Orleans Grand Isles Award (N.O.G.I.) in the science category — the world’s highest award for underwater operations; in 2003, the Compass International Award of the Marine Technology Society; and, in 2007, Adventurer of the Year. “A unique spirit of cooperation exists among the world’s oceanographers, especially among the few of us who journey to the ocean depths,” says Sagalevitch. “‘Mir’, meaning ‘peace’ in Russian, is an apt name for the submersibles.”
Published in 2008