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Ron Allum

Submersible Co-designer and Pilot, James Camerons Deepsea Challenge

Ron Allum has played a key role in some of the most daring and audacious explorations of our planet. In 1983 he was a dive leader on a world record 6.24 kilometre exploration of Cocklebiddy Cave which runs under Australia’s vast Nullarbor Plain. He later joined a documentary team and went onto explore the cave systems of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, and the ice caves of Alaska.

In 2001 he joined Hollywood Director, James Cameron’s expedition team where his quiet manner and unique ability to adapt, design, and build specialist equipment for use on Russian Mir submersibles earned him the title of “The Professor” aboard ship.

Ron commenced 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, Isofloat®, capable of withstanding the extreme pressure of full ocean depth. Isofloat® provided the flotation and forms the structural chassis of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. Allum’s pressure-balanced, fluid filled electronic systems and other innovative ideas kept the submersible’s weight to a minimum while maximizing its ability to do science and imaging work in the world’s deepest spots. During the expedition, Ron piloted the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER on a dive to 1,180 metres off Ulithi Atoll, an experience he describes as one of the most satisfying of his life.

In 2012 he established Ron Allum Deepsea Systems to manufacture Isofloat commercially. In 2013 he established Ron Allum Deepsea Services to develop new concepts and design innovative vehicles for deep sea exploration.

His extraordinary skills were recognized when he was awarded the New South Wales Senior Australian of the Year for 2012 in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the fields of engineering, science and exploration.

Related links

  • About Ron Allum - Deepsea Challenge
  • Ron Allum official website
  • Popular Science - The Ballad of Ron Allum


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