INRIA and ERCIM have lost one of its pioneers: Georges Nissen, an iconic figure at INRIA who spent his entire career working for the Institute, passed away on Tuesday 9 March 2010.
Georges Nissen joined INRIA in 1970 as a researcher on Alain Bensoussan’s “Systems Theory” project. In 1972, he became Corporate Affairs Manager at LABORIA. He was later appointed to INRIA’s management board as Jacques-Louis Lions’ deputy. Then, in 1986, he took over as INRIA’s International and Industrial Relations Director, playing an essential role in collaborations with the United States and Russia.
ERCIM owes a lot to Georges’ personal commitment. He was largely involved in the creation of ERCIM and served in the ERCIM Executive Committee from 1989 - 2001.
Georges Nissen will forever be remembered at INRIA and at ERCIM as one of their foremost contributors and one of their best ambassadors.
"On a working level he was very deeply involved in helping to get ERCIM up and running, says Eckart Bierdümpel, the current chair of the Executive Committee. "Always being an active participant in ERCIM discussions he became one of the most respected and longest-serving members of the Executive Committee. As a member right from the beginning in 1989 he was INRIA's voice and face in the Executive Committee for twelve consecutive years. His passion about ERCIM can nicely be demonstrated with the anecdote that he even created a new salutation and once in a while signed his emails with "ERCIMly, Georges". Even after retirement he involved himself in ERCIM activities whenever he was asked to: for example he participated as a contemporary witness of the beginnings of ERCIM at the 20th anniversary of ERCIM, which took place just last year in Paris.
Georges, the Executive Committee will miss you!"
Alain Bensoussan, former President of INRIA and a founder of ERCIM adds: “The importance of the role played by Georges Nissen in the birth of ERCIM can be traced back to the contacts between INRIA and its partners GMD in Germany and CWI in the Netherlands. I can remember how much Georges was appreciated by GMD and CWI. His involvement has certainly been instrumental in the shaping of the ERCIM concept. He naturally became a pillar of the EEIG, and has always remained a big supporter.
Thanks Georges, you deserve our gratitude and what you did for ERCIM will not be forgotten.”