By Hamish Johnston
It just might have been the audio interview with physicsworld.com that swung it – Andrew Harrison has been appointed Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France. He replaces Richard Wagner, who has retired.
Harrison had been scientific director of the neutron lab – a post that is now filled by Helmut Schober, who has been at ILL since 1994.
Harrison is pictured above right, with Schober centre and José Luis Martínez Peña, who will continue in his role as director of ILL’s Projects and Technique Division.
When I spoke with Harrison earlier this year, I discovered that we had both spent time at Canada’s McMaster University, where Harrison did a postdoc with the chemist John Greedan. Harrison spent much of his time at the Chalk River lab, where he tells me he shared a house with McMaster graduate student Thom Mason. Mason is now director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US – and I wonder if the two had any inkling back then that together they would control a huge chunk of the world’s neutron flux!
You can listen to my interview with Harrison here. One thing we chat about is the relationship between ILL and the European Spallation Source (ESS), which is currently being built in Sweden. Two weeks ago, ILL and ESS signed a memorandum of understanding that defines how the two neutron labs will collaborate on the development of new instrumentation and other technologies.