Auguste Piccard, a Swiss inventor

Auguste Piccard
, January 28, 1884- March 24, 1962 was a Swiss inventor.
Piccard and his twin brother Jean-Felix, were born in Basel, Switzerland. Showing an intense interest in science as a child, he attended the Federal Polytechnic School of Switzerland, and became a professor of physics at the University of Brussels in 1922.

In 1930, an interest in ballooning, and a curiosity about the upper atmosphere led him to design a spherical, pressurized aluminum gondola which would allow ascent to great altitude without requiring a pressure suit. Supported by the Belgian Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Piccard constructed his gondola.
On May 27, 1931, Auguste and Paul Kipfer took off from Augsberg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 15,785m (51,775ft). During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays. On August 18, 1932, launched from Zurich, Switzerland Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,200m (53,152ft). He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights setting a final record of 23,000m (72,177ft).

In the mid `30s, Piccard`s interests shifted when he realized that a modification of some of his atmospheric balloon concepts would allow descent into the deep ocean. By 1937, he`d designed a small steel gondola to withstand great external pressure; construction began but was interrupted by the outbreak of war. Resuming work in 1945 the steel gondola for personnel was completed and a large float was attached for buoyancy using gasoline as the medium, to make the now floating craft sink tons of iron were attached to the float with a release mechanism. This craft was named FNRS-2 and made a number of unmanned dives in 1948 before being gifted to the French navy in 1950, where it was redesigned and in 1954 took a man safely down 4,176m (13,700ft).

With the experience of FNRS-2 Piccard and his son Jacques built the improved Bathyscaphe Trieste. Piccard made over 100 dives, mainly off Italy, from 1954 before selling her to the US Navy in 1957 for $250,000.

Auguste Piccard
died in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Image Country Year Description
Central African Rep. 1985 Auguste Piccard 1884-1962, Bathyscaphe Trieste
Micronesia 1997 Auguste Piccard, Bathyscaphe 1954
Congo, Rep. 2003 Auguste Piccard (1884-1962). Bathyscaphe Trieste (sheetlet of 2 stamps)
Congo, Rep. 2003 Auguste Piccard (1884-1962). Bathyscaphe Trieste (souvenir sheet of 1 stamp)
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