Jacques Cousteau once said, “When you dive, you begin to feel like an angel."

It’s true. When a diver dons a tank and slips into the water, the noisy clatter of the world disappears and the sensation of weightlessness takes over. The unrestrained expanse of blue water. The dazzling rainbow of marine life. The splinters of silver light dancing through the water column. Scuba diving is an experience like no other.

But diving is also a serious, rigorous research tool that has an enormous impact on our understanding of this blue planet. Diving allows us to observe marine life in its natural habitat. It enables scientists to study ecosystems up-close and in-person—with a precision and scale not possible from a satellite, a boat, or even by free-diving from the surface. Scuba has opened up new worlds from the tropics to the poles, allowing researchers to explore places and encounter species previously hidden from human eyes.

To document and celebrate decades of research and discoveries made possible by scuba diving, the Smithsonian Marine Science Network has partnered with the National Science Foundation and the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council to host The Revolution of Science through Scuba, a two-day symposium at NMNH on May 24th and 25th. An impressive line-up of speakers will discuss scuba-driven discoveries from coral reefs, blue-water environments, kelp forests, under-ice polar habitats, and other marine ecosystems.

Editor's Note: This event has concluded, but you can now watch footage of the talks online.