Jean Massoulié (1938-2011)
Jean Massoulié was a truly great scientist. We all were struck by his creativity and curiosity, coupled with a logical and rigorous
approach both to the design of experiments and to their interpretation. As a person he was very modest and approachable. He once told me that
if you have a choice, you should work with your friends. Looking back, at first I thought that many of his friends worked on cholinesterases.
But, in fact, what he did was to turn all the people working on cholinesterases into his friends. Science was fun for him, and he was never
aggressive or malicious.
He had to be taken as a whole. When we talked, the word cholinesterase was mixed in with the names of his sons, his grandchildren,
and many other topics. His curiosity seemed to have no boundaries. He was interested in everything, from food to children toys,
from plants to Chinese ceramics, from fossils to coins and the list could be extended. Until the very last days of his life he had in
mind a list of unanswered questions about cholinesterases that he would still have liked to tackle.
He loved to travel, and was still hoping to visit his friends around the world. But to quote one of his sons, each day, for 40 years,
was a new adventure, when he set out to travel by RER from his home, in Le Vesinet, to his laboratory at 45 rue d'Ulm in Paris.
For us, the word cholinesterase will always be associated with his name, and he will remain in our memories – lively, joyful and, above all, curious.