ILL next Director will be Paul Langan

14 December 2020

The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is delighted to announce that its next Director will be Prof Paul Langan. Prof Langan will take up his duties on 1st October 2021 when Helmut Schober, the current Director, completes his term of office. 

When asked about his appointment, Paul said, “The ILL is one of the most prestigious science research institutes in the world. As a user facility, it provides visiting researchers with access to forefront neutron scattering capabilities for developing a deeper understanding of materials and their properties. 

The ILL has a stellar record of scientific achievements and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with ILL staff and users to help to continue to lead the way forward to further scientific discoveries. By doing so, I believe that we can help lay the foundation for future new technologies and applications that will drive economic growth and improve societal well-being for everyone.

I see changes in the way research is being done in some areas of science because of the increasing complexity of the problems being addressed, new and enhanced research capabilities, and advances in data, computing, and analytical methods. The co-location of ILL with other world-leading research capabilities in Europe positions us to be part of a research infrastructure that enables an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to addressing the most complex emerging research problems.” 

ILL is funded and managed by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, in partnership with 11 other European countries. UKRI/STFC, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, is one of its main funders, with an annual subscription that gives UK scientists access to the facility. 
STFC Executive Chair, Mark Thomson said, "The appointment of Paul Langan is welcome news to the international science community, as he brings great expertise and years of experience to the role. I look forward to seeing further exciting discoveries and pioneering research coming out of ILL in the years to come under Paul's leadership."

Helmut Schober, current ILL Director said, "The appointment of Paul is excellent news and demonstrates the unbroken attractiveness of the ILL. Paul has an impressive track record of achievements. In particular, in recent years he has successfully steered the final transformation of SNS from a project into a scientifically highly productive neutron facility. 

The experience he has acquired during his career will be a great asset for the many challenging tasks that lie ahead and for ensuring the ILL's continued leadership in the field of neutron science."

Paul Langan

Paul was born in Edinburgh. He studied physics at Edinburgh University and then at the University of Keele. He spent a brief period as a scientist at the ILL before moving to Los Alamos National Laboratory and then to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Los Alamos, Paul helped build the first time-of-flight neutron protein crystallography station and led several research teams working in various areas of science including computational methods, neutron scattering methods and technologies, structural biology and bioenergy. 

At Oak Ridge, Paul’s first assignments were as Director of the Center for Structural Molecular Biology and Director of the Biology and Soft Matter Division. Over the past six years, Paul has served as the Associate Laboratory Director for Neutron Sciences, with the responsibility for leading the operation and development of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). The capabilities of SNS and HFIR include neutron scattering, isotope production, accelerator research, neutrino physics, materials irradiation, fundamental particle physics, gamma irradiation and materials activation analysis. Other assignments in biology, chemistry and physics have included various joint faculty positions as Professor at a number of universities, editorial positions in journals, leadership positions in professional organisations, and principal investigator of several research projects at national laboratories in the US.

Note for the editors:

An international research centre based in Grenoble, France, ILL is one of the world’s premier neutron scattering facilities, it is at the leading edge of neutron science and technology. Every year, about 1400 researchers from around the world visit the ILL. Research focuses primarily on fundamental science in a variety of fields: condensed matter physics, chemistry, biology, nuclear physics and materials science, etc.