National Academy of Engineering Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 10
Membership Directory
PublisherNational Academies Press
Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 10

Search this Publication

  • Previous
  •    Table of Contents
  • Next
             ANDRÉ Y.GIRAUD                                           107
                             ANDRÉ Y.GIRAUD
                                 BY CHAUNCEY STARR
                ON JULY 27, 1997, one of the French nuclear energy community’s most
            prominent figures, André Giraud, died. A former administrator general of the
            French Atomic Energy Commission from 1970 to 1978, minister of industry from
            1978 to 1981, and minister of defense from 1986 to 1988, André Giraud was
            involved in all major decisions that resulted in the French national nuclear
            electricity program. André Giraud was a friend to the United States. During his
            career he developed a privileged relationship with all major nuclear scientists and
            representatives and in 1977 became a foreign associate of the U.S. National
            Academy of Engineering. In 1980 Giraud received the prestigious American
            Nuclear Society/Nuclear Energy Institute Henry DeWolf Smyth Award.
                André Giraud was born in Bordeaux, France, on April 3, 1925. He was a
             graduate of École Polytechnique (Paris), École Nationale Supérieure des Mines
            (Paris), and École Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole. From 1949 to 1950, André
            trained in the United States, focusing on the petrochemical industry. He then
            resumed his career in France, working as a researcher, then executive vice-
            president, of the French Institute of Petroleum from 1951 to 1964.
                Between the years of 1964 and 1990, André was either in charge of, a
            member of, or worked with many important institu
             ANDRÉ Y.GIRAUD                                           108
             tions and companies such as the French Oil Directorate (head), minister of
             education (chiefaide), Atomic Energy Commissariat (chairman), Energy and
             Industry in the Barre government (secretary), Paris-Dauphine University
             (professor), the Chirac government (secretary for defense), and the Compagnie
             Générale d’Innovation et de Dévelopment (president).
                Other achievements attained by André Giraud between the years of 1974 and
             1994 include being chairman of the French Scientific Council of Defense,
             chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Elf Group, and president of
             École Polytechnique.
                Along with the Henry de Wolfe-Smythe Award, André also received the
            Foratom Award given by the European Nuclear Society, the Honorary Medal of
            the French Nuclear Society, and various French and foreign decorations,
            including Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur.
                This long and wide-ranging career in service to France was indicative of
            André Giraud’s capabilities as an administrator and an imaginative leader. In
             international relations he was recognized as a politician of exceptional vision and
             dimension. He emphasized long-term perspectives, while alertly considering
             near-term steps. He was an intuitive and knowledgeable diplomat who established
             warm personal relationships with members of foreign governments. This was
             particularly important to France in the key area of energy supplies during a time
             when oil and gas imports faced much international turbulence.
                André Giraud was actively involved in keeping France in the forefront of
             international science and technology. His outstanding intellect, exceptional
             capacity for synthesis, and openness to imaginative innovation made him a
             persuasive leader of the French technology scene. He was an active promoter of
             new concepts and was able to put them into practice by his great ability to
             organize and manage the implementing institutions. His footprints are evident
             throughout many French national programs, including programs in the space,
             military, and energy fields. He was deeply involved in the development of the
             French nuclear power system, making it one of the world’s best, and he was
             committed to the goal that it become a long-term
             ANDRÉ Y.GIRAUD                                           109
             indigenous resource for the country. He courageously took the responsibility of
             abandoning the early French uranium-graphite reactors and adopting the U.S.-
             developed pressurized water reactors, and supported a fast breeder project to
             achieve uranium independence.
                André Giraud was one of the most prestigious foreign associates of the
             National Academy of Engineering. As a consequence of his warm and friendly
             personality, and his consideration for all he worked with, he will remain in the
             memories of a long list of friends and associates.
    • Previous
    •    Table of Contents
    • Next