The Explorer Gene

How Three Generations of One Family Went Higher, Deeper, and Further than Anyone Before

by Tom Cheshire

*** With a foreword by James Cameron ***

On May 27, 1931, Auguste Piccard became the first human to enter the stratosphere, flying an experimental balloon he invented himself. Thirty years later, his son Jacques went to the bottom of the earth, descending to the Mariana Trench in a submarine built by him and Auguste. To this day, no one has gone deeper. Bertrand, the third generation, was the first person to fly around the world non-stop in a balloon. Now, he’s building his own craft: a solar powered plane to circumnavigate the globe.

In The Explorer Gene, Tom Cheshire asks how three generations of one family achieved such extraordinary feats, often with the consensus against them. None of the Piccards set out to explore: Auguste was a physicist, Jacques an economist and Bertrand a psychiatrist. Was it fate, a famous family name – or their explorer gene?

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“Adventure is about the unknown. If you do something that really faces the unknown, faces the doubts, the uncertainties, and you have to develop new skills to make it happen – that's interesting.”
Bertrand Piccard cited by Tom Cheshire in his article for The Observer
“Cheshire's dramatic and moving debut tells the story of this idiosyncratic family and their extraordinary feats. Whether sinking into the ocean's 'abyssal night' or gazing on the Earth from above, their experiences invoke an awe far beyond the transience of breaking records.”
Lonely Planet Traveller

About Tom Cheshire

*** With a foreword by James Cameron *** On May 27, 1931, Auguste Piccard became the first human to enter the stratosphere, flying an experimental balloon he invented himself. Thirty years later, his son Jacques went to the bottom of [...]