Born May 2nd 1938 in Villars-Saint-Georges, a small village in the region of Franche-Comté (France), Raymond Besson deceased April 15th 2020.
From a modest rural origin, he began his professional life as high school teacher of Physics in the city of Dole. Then, after a sabbatical period in Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, he entered a university carrier that settled him as Professor at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques (ENSMM) of Besançon from 1974 to 2006. Thereafter he took the charge of a French- Russian center in University of Franche-Comté. In the earlier stage of his scientific carrier, he worked on the measurement of non-linear piezoelectric constants and became “docteur ès Sciences Physiques” in 1970. He was the Director of the Laboratory of Chronometry, Electronics and Piezoelectricity of ENSMM from 1974 to 2002.
Raymond had a strong personality. Guided by his intuition and an acute sense of social relationships, he firmly pushed his ideas toward the ground of reality. During the 70’s he developed high performances electrodeless quartz resonators, so-called BVA, that gave him a solid international recognition by out- breaking the former limit of 10-13 short-term stability of piezoelectric resonators. Among many awards including the Silver Medal of C.N.R.S (1980), he obtained in 1992 the Cady Award “for fundamental contributions to both quartz resonator fabrication technology and understanding of nonlinear effects leading to devices of superior performance”. He authored or co-authored 123 scientific papers and filed 16 patents.
Having invited many prominent researchers in his laboratory, he was and still is largely recognized as a pioneer of international scientific cooperation between Time and Frequency scientists. He co-founded the European Frequency and Time Forum in 1987, with late Jean-Jacques Gagnepain, Marcel Ecabert and Bernie Schlueter, and he organized and chaired with Don Sullivan from NIST the first Joint Meeting of the European Frequency and Time Forum and The International Frequency Control Symposium held in Besançon in 1999.
Raymond Besson was President of the French Society of Microtechniques and Chronometry from 1992 to 2002 and initiated many actions to federate the national T&F community, anticipating the creation of the First-TF national network. He always showed a strong commitment to indulge the laboratories into issuing new products and services that can benefit to the mundane society. He applied this objective to himself since he led the BVA resonators up to the stage of industry production and 10 of his patents have been used in industry. His numerous actions in the field of Academy-Industry relationship were remarked and supported by the French authorities who distinguished him as an Officer of the Legion of Honor and of the National Order of Merit.
Raymond Besson was a dynamic and unyielding person. Being known throughout the scientific community for his outspokenness, and respected for that, he was deeply convinced of the importance of promoting people by their merit. At the same time, he gave their first opportunity to many young scientists and let them follow their way in complete freedom. In his later times he took much interest in astronomy and started to commit himself to the study of the influence of quantum effects on human brain and behavior. Unfortunately, his sudden death from a heart problem will deprive us from his conclusions in this new field. The T&F community will miss him a lot. Let us express our supporting thoughts and condolences to his wife Colette and his two children Helen and François and their families.
Additional information about Raymond Besson’s life can be found at https://ethw.org/First-Hand:Raymond_Besson.