Leburton named associate member of Royal Academy of Belgium

4/19/2011 2:19:00 PM

Jean-Pierre Leburton, the Gregory Stillman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois, has been elected to the Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Fine Arts of Belgium.

Jean-Pierre Leburton
Jean-Pierre Leburton
The academy was founded in 1772 by Empress Marie-Thérèse of Austria as the Imperial Academy of Arts and Science. At the time Belgium was part of the Austrian empire. In 1845, King Leopold I of Belgium re-commissioned the academy as the Royal Academy.  It is the oldest scholarly society in Belgium. Until recently, there were classes within the Academy: sciences, political science and ethics, and the arts.

In 2009, the Academy created a new class: technology and society. Leburton was elected to this newest class. He is a renowned expert in nanostructure and device physics, which fits in with the class theme since “Nanotechnology has a tremendous impact on technology and society,” said Leburton.

In addition, Leburton has been collaborating with colleagues from Belgium on research and other projects in his field.

“In the last few years I’ve been involved with collaborative research activities in various Belgian institutions,” he said. “I’ve served in PhD exams committees. I was also involved in conference organizations in Belgium.”

Leburton believes his area of expertise and interaction with Belgian colleagues helped pave the way for his selection to the Academy. 

“I imagine they were interested in my expertise in nanotechnology,” said Leburton. “They have some activities in nanotechnology in Belgium, especially in bionanotechnology, nanoelectronics, and NEMS [nanoelectromechanical systems]. People started to know me”

Though Leburton is a native of Belgium, he was elected as an associate of the Academy, a distinction reserved for those living outside Belgium.

“In some ways, this is mostly honorary,” said Leburton. “I will be consulted a few times, but not as often as the regular members because I live far away.”

Membership in the Royal Academy is limited to 200 members and 200 associate members. New members can be elected only as vacancies become available within the membership. An induction ceremony will be held on May 21, 2011, in the Palace of the Academy, near the Royal Palace.

Leburton received his PhD from the University of Liege, Belgium, in 1978. He then went to work for Siemens in Germany for two years. In 1981 he came to the University of Illinois as a postdoc.

“I was to be here for one year,” said Leburton. “This year in September it will be thirty years.”

Leburton is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Electrochemical Society, IEEE, and the Optical Society of America. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He is a Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, which is given by the government of France. He has received the Gold Medal for Scientific Achievement from the alumni association of the University of Liege, Belgium. He is also the 2004 recipient of the “quantum device award” for outstanding contribution to the field of compounds semiconductors. In 2010 he was elected an IEEE Nanotechnology Council Distinguished Lecturer.

Contact: Jean-Pierre Leburton, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 217/333-6813.

Writer: Tom Moone, communications coordinator, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 217/244-9893.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, editor, Engineering Communications Office, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-7716.