Underwater for 76 days and counting, a Florida professor sets a world record for science

  • 27 May - 02 Jun, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Joseph Dituri, a 55-year-old University of South Florida professor, has broken the world record for the longest time spent underwater – and he plans to stay for another three weeks. As of now, the aquanaut had been residing 30 feet below in a lagoon in Key Largo, Fla., for about 77 days, breaking the previous record of 73 days set by two Tennessee educators in 2014. "The curiosity for discovery has led me here," Dituri wrote on Twitter. "My goal from day 1 has been to inspire generations to come, interview scientists who study life undersea and learn how the human body functions in extreme environments." Despite the world record, Dituri's personal goal is to stay underwater until Day 100 – June 9 – as part of a research project to how the human body responds to living under extreme pressure. Prior to academia, Dituri was in the U.S. Navy for 28 years as a saturation diving officer. In 2012, he pursued a Ph.D in biomedical engineering at the University of South Florida to learn how to help people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.