André Allisy (1924-2017) – Honorary Chairman of ICRU

Professor André Allisy died on February 22, 2017, at the age of 92. André was the third Chairman of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (1984 – 1997) and after that ICRU Honorary Chairman. His predecessors as ICRU Chairmen were L.S. Taylor and H.O. Wyckoff. 

André Allisy was appointed to ICRU in 1953 and was elected as its Chairman in 1984. He represented ICRU at the Consultative Committee for Units of the International Committee for Weights and Measurements (CIPM) where he played a key role in the decision by the General Conference for Weights and Measurements in 1975 to give the special name gray (Gy) for the unit for absorbed dose (and kerma), and Becquerel (Bq) for activity, as well as sievert (Sv) for dose equivalent (1979). 

In 1984, André was elected as ICRU’s chairman, a position he held until 1997. During this period, ICRU published 22 reports. These covered a wide range of disciplines including the introduction and measurement of operational quantities for radiation protection monitoring for external radiation, basic physical data for radiation measurements and the first of a very successful series of ICRU publications on Prescribing, Recording and Reporting of Radiation Beam Therapy. Now these reports address all types of modern external beam therapy including brachytherapy and have had a significant impact on clinical radiation oncology. 

André Allisy started his career in metrology of ionizing radiation in 1945 in the French company Massiot which produced radiological and dosimetry equipment in France. His early notable achievement was the construction of the first primary measurement standard for radiation exposure in France which withstood successfully the comparison with that of the United States of America. His reputation as an outstanding scientist and metrologist was soon recognized internationally. In 1953, he was appointed to ICRU and in 1961, the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) charged André with setting up an International laboratory for radiation measurements at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) in Sevres, France. His laboratory rapidly gained the recognition throughout the world for its precision measurements of ionizing radiation and radioactivity. The laboratory enables comparisons of realizations of becquerel, gray and sievert for all national laboratories of the Metre convention and in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the laboratory has provided the basis for extending consistency of radiation measurements to almost all states in the world. 

André played a key role in metrology in his native France. In 1967, he was appointed to the first Chair of Metrology at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers and he was responsible for creating the Institute National de Métrologie in France. He received the Ordre National du Mérite in recognition of his work. 

During his time at ICRU André became close friends with Lauriston Taylor, Hal Gray and Harold Wyckoff. 

Professor Allisy is survived by his second wife Penelope and two sons, three daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

André Allisy’s achievements for ICRU, for science and metrology at large, and as family man, are outstanding. ICRU mourns the loss of an exceptional member.