Originally from Belgium near Mons, René Caudron did most of his studies there, before joining Onera in 1964 where he was part of the small group that, around Paul Costa, set up the ONERA Solid State Physics Laboratory created at the initiative of Raimond Castaing. He spent his entire career at ONERA in the Materials Department and then at the LEM. He was one of the essential members of the laboratory, an extraordinary engineer-physicist, originally by many aspects of its national and international reputation.
At a time when almost all experiments were set up “at home”, René participated in all the research “manips” of LEM during the first twenty-five years of its existence, which were devoted to the study of the electronic structure of transition compounds: carbides, nitrides, hydrides, borides. These were low-temperature experiments, the highlight of which was undoubtedly its specific low-temperature heat measuring device, one of the most efficient at the time. He thus contributed to validating the models developed at Orsay and Strasbourg on diluted alloys. This was his thesis work.
He took part in all the experimental studies of the laboratory, specialising for a long period in the study of spin glasses, before moving on to the study of chemical effects in alloys. On this occasion, he built his famous G4.4 diffuse scattering spectrometer, installed on the CEA’s Orphée nuclear reactor in Saclay, which he was in charge of until his retirement in 2003, and which was also among the most efficient in the world.
An outstanding physicist and experimentalist, René Caudron made a deep impression on his colleagues, interns and doctoral students, all of whom testify to having met in him an extraordinary researcher and, above all, a man of conviction of unspeakable kindness and modesty.