The presentation of the annual DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award is among the many highlights of the Beneath the Sea dive show. This year was no different, as Gene Hobbs was honored this past weekend as the recipient of the 2010 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award.
The award is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to dive safety or the DAN mission; nominations for Hobbs were unanimous in the belief that the industry would be hard-pressed to find another person who has contributed more to the sport of diving while asking for nothing in return.
Hobbs is an experienced diver, a NAUI instructor and a well-respected coordinator at the Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center at the Duke University School of Medicine. But it is his work as a founder and current executive director of the Rubicon Foundation that sets him apart in his contributions to the diving industry.
Founded in 2002, the Rubicon Foundation participates in research projects that can benefit from technology and extended collaboration and exposure. Using today’s technology to build electronic libraries and Internet-based tools, it makes available to researchers — and those interested in the results of research — resources, knowledge sharing, recent discoveries, current pursuits and outcomes.
One of the Rubicon Foundation’s projects is the Rubicon Research Repository, perhaps the largest electronic collection of diving and hyperbaric research and literature in existence. Started by Hobbs, he used personal funds and equipment to compile information and index the library. Using equipment that often could scan only one page at a time, Hobbs persevered in his work, seeking more information, building more relationships, accessing more research, adding more literature and encouraging others to participate in the project. Today, the Rubicon Research Repository offers thousands of pages of research and information documents representing the work of leading scientists and collaborators around the globe. Every page of it is available to the public for free.
“Gene Hobbs represents what is best about the human spirit,” said Dan Orr, president of DAN and who presented Hobbs his award March 27. “He is selfless and tireless in his contributions to others, and it is the diving industry’s good luck that his passion for our sport directed those contributions to us. What Gene has built and given to diving will last for generations, and the number of divers who will benefit from his work simply cannot be counted.”
Winners of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award receive a plaque and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual dive watch. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the award.