In memory of Isabelle Grillo
Isabelle Grillo passed away suddenly in her sleep at the beginning of August. She was just 46 years old. The news of her death came as an immense shock to her colleagues at the ILL, in particular her co-workers in the LSS group.
At her funeral on 13 August, many of them came to pay their last respects, including the three directors of the ILL, who were all anxious to attend. Mark Johnson and Giovanna Fragneto both spoke at the ceremony; below are the words they used to describe Isabelle.
Isabelle was a brilliant scientist. She joined the ILL at the tender age of just 25. In the space of two decades, she published some 225 articles, which have since been cited over 5000 times. Her last article appeared in the prestigious journal Nature Materials the day before her funeral. She also performed a tremendous amount of experimental work, conducting around twenty experiments a year not just at the ILL but also at other institutes, such as the LLB, ISIS and our neighbour, the ESRF.
Isabelle also excelled in her role as Local Contact for visiting scientists at the ILL. Among the many tributes paid to Isabelle was this one from Dan Kirschner: “I remember Isabelle as the kindest, sweetest and most generous person. She was always there to help us, always friendly, always smiling, always patient and always capable.”
Isabelle had spent the month of July promoting the ILL’s activities at a workshop in Portugal and supporting her users on D33 with her usual professionalism. She had admitted to being tired after a very busy July, but happy to have achieved a lot of very positive results.
Some of Isabelle's research focused on quite popular topics, such as why pastis, and more recently limoncello, turn cloudy when we add water to them. With a gift for teaching, she was often contacted by mainstream media outlets and was always more than happy to take part in scientific outreach events organised by the ILL. Here too, the ILL owes Isabelle a huge debt of gratitude.
As Mark Johnson pointed out, “Isabelle was truly committed to serving the ILL, our present and future users and the scientific community as a whole.” With her bright intellect, her smile and her openness,
We already miss her terribly.