Neutron scattering is a powerful probe of the properties of matter, from biological materials and chemical compounds to sub-atomic particles. ILL was established in 1967 by France and Germany to provide the international scientific community with a powerful source of neutrons for structural research, which it generates with its high-flux reactor. The UK became an equal member of the laboratory in 1973, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council now funds its share of a third of the budget. Six other European countries have since become partners of the laboratory. Carlile succeeds Dirk Dubbers as director of ILL, who is returning to the University of Heidelberg in Germany.