13 August 2012
Meet the man behind the deepest dive
Ron Allum, the man whose submarine took film director James Cameron almost 11,000 metres beneath the waves, is speaking at RMIT University this week.
The talk, part of National Science Week, will look at how the director of Avatar and Titanic piloted to equal the greatest depth ever visited by humankind.
The lecture is a City Science event sponsored by National Science Week and RMIT.
On 26 March this year, Mr Cameron reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.
The recorded depth was 10,898.4m when the Deepsea Challenger touched down.
Mr Allum is the managing director of the Acheron Project, which was set up to build the submarine used for the dive.
He has been heavily involved in James Cameron’s deep-sea expeditions since 2001.
For Mr Cameron’s 2004 expedition to the Atlantic and Pacific deep-ocean vents, Mr Allum designed and built pan-and-tilt systems for the 6,000m 3-D high-definition rig used on both Mir submersibles and on Mr Cameron’s Deep Rover submersibles.
In 2005, he designed and built a broadcast system enabling the Mir submersibles to beam a live broadcast from Titanic from 12 cameras on the ocean floor via a 6,000m fiber-optic spool system link to the surface.
He began work on the Deepsea Challenger submersible in 2005, researching and overseeing the building of the pressure sphere that forms its core.
When the sphere was completed he went on to develop a unique formula for syntactic foam capable of withstanding the extreme pressure of full ocean depth.
That foam provides the flotation and forms the structural chassis of the Deepsea Challenger.
Mr Allum’s unique, pressure-balanced, oil-filled electronic systems and other innovative ideas kept the submersible’s weight to a minimum while maximising its ability to do science and imaging work in the world’s deepest spots.
In addition to his technical skills, Mr Allum is an accomplished cave diver. In 1983 he led expedition to Cocklebiddy Cave on the Nullarbor Plain, where the expedition achieved a world record push of 6.24 kilometres into the cave system.
Public lecture: The science behind the sub that allowed humans to explore the deepest point of the sea
Speaker: Ron Allum
Date: Wednesday, 15 August
Venue: RMIT Kaleide Theatre
RSVP: via email
Ron Allum will speak on his submarine inventions.
A denizen of the deep explored by James Cameron. Photo: Neil Vincent Photography.
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