Science: 4,000 Meters under the Sea

"All right, darling. I shall never travel in the stratosphere again." Bird-necked Professor Auguste Piccard made that solemn promise to his wife in 1932, just after he had ballooned to the stratosphere from Switzerland and landed with a wallop across the Alps. Last week, still stuck with his pledge, the Swiss scientist announced that he would try exploring in the opposite direction: next February he will head for the bottom of the ocean.

The present depth record is held by William Beebe, who dangled on a cable 3,028 feet below the ocean's surface in a hollow steel "bathysphere." Professor Piccard plans a...

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