Joel Chavanne

Head of the Insertion Device and Magnets group

I like living off the beaten track and I’ve always been passionate about the mountains. I grew up near the Mont Blanc, where I used to do high mountain climbing. Today I live near Briançon in the south of the Alps about 100 km from the ESRF. I split my time between an intensive shorter week at the ESRF and an extended weekend with my family. Those are my two worlds: the sparsely populated high mountains and the ultra-precise, high-tech environment of the ESRF. There are many parallels between the two and I’m at home in both environments. At the ESRF, we’ve been developing magnet systems for many years and as the first 3rd generation synchrotron in the world, we have intensively contributed to the development of insertion devices.  Our work is well recognised and we are often asked to give advice on a lot of projects worldwide. In the insertion devices group, in particular, we are privileged to have this culture of continuous development, backed by management, which has often dared to take non-conservative stances that have largely paid off. It’s one of the successes of the ESRF. For me, every day is an adventure as we are pushing the technology and have to trust our experience and intuition, which count for a lot in our developments. It’s the same with ski mountaineering. The mountain, as well as my everyday job at the ESRF, is a school of patience: you have to know your environment, trust your intuition and remain humble.”

Please turn your device