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Scientist who coined the word scuba passes away

Scientist who coined the word scuba passes away

Tributes have been paid to Christian Lambertsen the scientist and doctor who has died aged 93.

Dr. Lambertsen was a keen diver who as a young man was determined to find a better way to breath underwater than the cumbersome helmet and air supply tube system being used from boats at the time.

He was to develop an early version of the Closed-Circuit Rebreather which enabled divers to rebreath the air they had exhaled. Because the unit was recycling the diver’s air, no bubbles were created.

Lambertsen named his invention the Laru (Lambertsen Amphibious Respirator Unit.

It was the fact that no bubbles were created by the Laru that brought it to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War. 

The OSS – which was a forerunner of the CIA – issued the rebreather units to  combat divers on special missions.

But Lambertsen’s invention was to remain within the world of the specialist. An updated version of the Laru was used by US Navy special operations units until the 1980s.

It was Jacques Cousteau’s invention, the Aqua-Lung, which was to be taken up by divers.

However, in 1952 Dr. Lambertsen co-wrote a paper in which he described his “Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus” which he shortened to Scuba, thus coining the acronym.


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