Stirling is no stranger to Grenoble, having worked at the nearby Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) neutron source for 14 years, and later chairing the ILL scientific council. He currently uses X-rays from the ESRF and other synchrotron sources to study magnetic structures and phase transitions in magnetic materials. Stirling was also closely involved in the construction of the XMAS beamline at the ESRF.