Last updated: January 18, 2020 at 20:15 pm
Pioneer ecologist; explorer; author; co-invented the Bathysphere with Otis Barton; made record descent to 923 m (3,028 ft) with Barton aboard the Bathysphere in 1934; curator of ornithology at the New York Zoological Gardens from 1899; director of the department of tropical research of the New York Zoological Society from 1919; among his many expeditions, he conducted hundreds of hardhat exploratory dives in Haiti and Puerto Rico in 1927, documenting nearly 300 species, while using innovative devices such as a watertight brass camera housing, and a diving helmet equipped with a telephone; initiated Prince George (Duke of Kent) to helmet diving, who subsequently offered Beebe Nonsuch Island, in Bermuda, for use as a research station; used the Bathysphere with Otis Barton to conduct a series of biological survey dives off Nonsuch Island from 1930 to 1934, thus becoming the first humans to observe deep-sea animals in their natural environment; authored over 800 articles and 21 books; described one new species of bird and 87 species of fish, and 64 animals were named after him; led his last major expedition in 1955.
“Boredom is immoral. All a man has to do is see. All about us nature puts on the most thrilling adventure stories ever created, but we have to use our eyes.”
“To be a naturalist is better than to be a king.”
“The isness of things is well worth studying; but it is their whyness that makes life worth living.”
— William Beebe
William Beebe inspired famed German explorer Hans Hass who wrote the following passage relating to Beebe in 1952. “When William Beebe descended in a diving helmet to the bottom of the sea for the first time—on April 9, 1925, at Darwin Bay in the Galapagos Islands—he picked out a convenient boulder, sat down on it, shut his eyes, and said to himself:”
“I am not at home, not in any city, or among any people. I am far out in the Pacific Ocean on a desert island, sitting on the bottom of the sea. I am deep under water, at a spot where no human being has ever been before. This is one of the most important moments of my entire life. Thousands of people would give a great deal, would make great sacrifices, to have the same experience for only five minutes.” — William Beebe quoted by Hans Hass in Diving to Adventure. Harpoon and Camera under the Sea (1952).