The Dive World Bids Farewell to Dr Bruce Wienke, Decompression Pioneer
Dr Bruce Wienke, one of the most highly regarded scientists in the world of scuba diving and decompression theory, has died, leaving behind the legacy of his pioneering RGBM decompression algorithm.
Wienke is best known for developing the Reduced Gradient Bubble Model (RGBM) algorithm, particularly those produced by leading manufacturer Suunto with whom he worked closely, later developing Suunto's Fused and Fused RGBM 2 models. Dr Wienke's algorithms are present in a wide range of dive computers, from Suunto's early Vyper to it's latest EON Core and Steel models and the 2019 Suunto D5.
In basic terms, Wienke's RGBM algorithm predicts the formation of microbubbles within the blood and tissues of divers over a much greater range of pressure changes and is not restricted to the final ascent/decompression phase of a dive. This leads to, among other things, a reduction in no-decompression limits (NDLs) in RGBM model dive computers, which many divers will have noticed when diving with a buddy who is using a Bühlmann-model dive computer.
Wienke's research led to the standardisation of safe diving practices that both recreational and technical divers take for granted in the modern era. These include a reduction in ascent rate to 10m/s rather than the 18m/s used by the original PADI/DSAT Haldane-based Recreational Dive Planner, plus greater limits on repetitive, multi-day diving activities and the introduction of 'deep stops' for decompression, even among recreational divers. His book 'The Science of Diving' is essential reading for any diver who wishes to learn more than the basic mechanics of scuba diving.