Charles William Beebe was most famous for his pioneering descents in a bathyscaphe (his best known book is called Half Mile Down) but he had a very long career as a writer, naturalist, and conservationist as well as an explorer. He was born in 1877, at the end of the great age of naturalist explorers, and lived to see the first humans orbit the Earth. A few of his thoughts:
- The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.
- These words should be ready for instant use by every honest scientist➖ 'I don't know.'
- 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.
Beebe has a somewhat controversial record as an observer of marine life in the deeps, having reported several fishes, some of them spectacular, no one else has been able to find. His greatness as an explorer and his impact as a scientist, though, will live on forever.