It was quite a life – all 85 years of it; and along the way Beebe made science sound interesting and adventurous.
There are scientists who can write accurately but not interestingly to a general public – and there are those who can write interestingly to the general public but whose science is below par. Beebe’s genius was that he wrote scientific works like works of literature –full of passion and drama.
He is most famous because of his dive in the Bathysphere in 1930.
Otis Barton had devised a hollow steel sphere he hoped would withstand the huge pressures of the sea. Beebee volunteered to be lowed into the ocean inside the bathysphere in deeper and deeper dives until in 1949 they descended to a depth of 4,500 feet.
But he was writing a long time before this and fortunately for us Beebe’s books are still with us and are wonderfully readable today.
We recorded his first book “Jungle Peace” for our audiobook series for the American Adventure Library. His descriptions of army ants on the attack in British Guiana was dramatic and exciting.
His description of being was lowered in a harness from the deck to the anchor hollow of a passenger ship under full steam is pretty adventurous. His words are lyrical, dramatic and fun to hear. So it’s good to remember good man.