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Leburton named associate member of Royal Academy of Belgium

Jean-Pierre Leburton, the Gregory Stillman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to the Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Fine Arts of Belgium, the oldest scholarly society in Belgium.

The academy was founded in 1772 by Empress Marie-Thrse 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. 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."


Contact: Jean-Pierre Leburton
University of Illinois College of Engineering

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