Book launch at Maritime Museum shines light on first German deep-sea expedition

07.03.2016 07:05
Kategorie: News

New book recounts the Valdivia expedition of 1897-98

Zoologist Carl Chun from Leipzig was fascinated by the possibilities within the deep sea. In a speech to the German Association of Natural Scientists and Physicians on 24 September 1897, he campaigned for an expedition to explore the depths of the sea. Not only did he manage to make his case, he inspired Kaiser Wilhelm II to his cause.

Gallery 1 here

The Emperor became convinced that scientific exploration and conquest of the oceans was essential to achieve world supremacy against Britain. Thus, he allocated funds towards the expedition. On 31 July 1898, less than a year after Chun's speech, the steamship Valdivia was put to sea.

During their nine-month journey, the crew crossed the northern and southern Atlantic, the Antarctic waters and the Indian Ocean. They explored the seabed, extensively measuring the depths and temperatures of the ocean, and even discovered numerous new species like the vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)… the scientific gains was simply enormous.

Gallery 2 here

Today, author Rudi Palla recounts the team's voyage in his new book, Valdivia – The History of the First German Deep-Sea Expedition. It contains many original pictures and previously undisclosed documents, including notebooks, journals and logbooks from the expedition. It gives readers a glimpse of the lives of the crew as they dealt with the challenges of life on board the ship and on land. A subtle undercurrent about marine pollution runs throughout the book, with the scientists of the Valdivia expedition having experienced the seas in a state that no longer exists today.

The book launch will take place this Thursday, 10 March 2016, at 7pm at the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. Admission is 3 Euros per person, and free for members of the German Oceanographic Museum. If you buy the book at the launch, you can get it signed by the author.

The book by Rudi Palla: Valdivia – The History of the First German Deep-Sea Expedition, Verlag Galiani Berlin, ISBN 978-3-86971-124-9, 224 pages with photos and illustrations; hardcover; Price: Euro 28,00 (D) | Euro 28,80 (A).

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