1978 Jury Member

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise

Location: France

Jacques Piccard
France, 1922-2008

Jacques Piccard was one of only two people to have explored the deepest part of the world’s oceans, the Mariana Trench. Descending to 10,911 metres in a bathyscaphe of his design, his historic 1960 record still holds.


Professor Jacques Piccard, a Swiss national, studied at Geneva University. Today, he is a doctor honoris causa of science at numerous American universities and chairman of the board of the Foundation for the Study and Protection of the Sea and Lakes. Professor Piccard is both a scholar and a man of action and enterprise whose name is associated with spectacular demonstrations of underwater diving.


He collaborated with his father, Professor Auguste Piccard, in the building of the bathyscaphe Trieste. Between 1952 and 1960, he made 65 descents, one of them, on 23 January 1960, to a depth of 10,911 metres in the Mariana Trench.


ln 1963 to 1964, in Switzerland, he built the mesoscaph Auguste Piccard, which made 1,100 descents in Lake Geneva, enabling a total of 33,000 passengers to observe the bottom of the lake.


ln 1969, he carried out a 30-day, diving-drifting experiment over a distance of 1,500 miles in the Gulf Stream.


Professor Jacques Piccard has published many works of popular science and continues his multiple cultural and ecological activities. He is, among other things, a member of the Pacem in Maribus Group of the Swiss National Committee for UNESCO, and sits on the board of the WWF Foundation.


Jacques Piccard died on 1 November, 2008.

Other 1978 Jury Members