Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

MTS Webinar by Dr. James Cairns: Underwater Mateable Connector History: The Agony and Euphoria of Their Development

06/03/2020 - 9:00am to 10:00am
8610 Kennel Way La Jolla, CA 92037, US
Event Description: 
Underwater Mateable Connector History:
The Agony and Euphoria of Their Development
A Virtual Symposium with Dr. James Cairns
Physicist, Oceanographer, and Lifelong Inventor
Prior to the 1960’s there was no way to connect and disconnect electrical cables underwater. Subsea cable junctions had to be made in a dry environment and then lowered into the sea. To disconnect, they had to be retrieved into a dry space. In the early part of that decade, the first products to make and break cable junctions underwater were introduced.
This discussion relates the history of underwater connectors from those early days to the present as experienced by one of their inventors. The development has been a rocky road of disappointing failures punctuated here and there by great successes. The euphoria of success has made it all worthwhile. There’s practically nothing more satisfying than identifying a difficult problem, developing an invention to solve it, and then seeing people use it to do things they could never do before. The history of underwater mateable connectors has been like that. They have changed our world in important ways.
Panelist: James L. Cairns
Ph.D., Owner, Abyssal Systems; Executive Director, Cairns Foundation, Inc.; Founder, inventor, Ocean Design, Inc.
Dr. Cairns is a physicist, oceanographer, and lifelong inventor with more than sixty issued and pending U.S. patents. His most successful inventions have been components for subsea fiber-optic and electrical communications networks. He licensed his early inventions, and later co-founded two significant companies. The first company sold to Lockheed Corporation in 1985, and the second, Daytona Beach based Ocean Design, Inc., sold in 2009 to Teledyne Instruments, Inc. In 2003 he started The Cairns Foundation, a charitable organization supporting and encouraging innovation by creative students. He has received several prestigious awards for his contributions to marine science and technology, including:
  • The Marine Technology Society’s Compass Distinguished Achievement Award (2003)
  • The Marine Technology Society’s Lockheed Martin Award for Excellence in Marine Science and Engineering (2005)
  •  Induction into The Offshore Energy Center Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in subsea technology (2017)
His advances in subsea interconnect technology have allowed offshore systems to be constructed in profound ocean depths, greatly expanding the global area and capacity to work in that hostile environment.
For more information on this event, contact: 
Vanessa A Scott
Event Calendar: 
Innovation & Career Events