In 1934, ecologist and explorer William Beebe descended 3,028 feet undersea–off the coast of Bermuda–in a steel-walled submersible called the Bathysphere. His descent broke all previous records. On February 25, the Museum of the Moving Image’s Science on Screen series presented archival footage of Beebe and his team, the Department of Tropical Research, on expeditions above and below water.
The films, shot between 1927 and ’34, were introduced by Jon Forrest Dohlin, the director of the New York Aquarium where the bathysphere is on view to the public. The screening was followed by a conversation moderated by Science on Screen organizer Sonia Epstein, between oceanographic explorer and conservationist Fabien Cousteau (grandson of legend Jacques Cousetau), and whale researcher and biologist Howard Rosenbaum from the Wildlife Conservation Society. Watch the conversation below.
For more, read Science & Film’s interview with the Wildlife Conservation Society archivist Madeleine Thompson. The WCS archives contain 3,000 reels of film footage that is just being uncovered.
The next Science on Screen program will feature John Frankenheimer's 1966 film SECONDS, on April 29.
All footage © Wildlife Conservation Society