Brown professor wins prestigious Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award

Professor Jimmy Xu will study and teach in France next year as a Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair as part of an effort to reinforce collaborative research between the United States and France.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have selected Brown University professor Jimmy Xu for the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award.

The prestigious award will enable Xu, a professor of engineering and physics, to study and teach at JUNIA, a graduate school of science and engineering located in Lille, France, and at the CNRS Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology based at the University of Lille.

Xu works in the field of laser science, nanotechnology and nanoelectronics, with current research focused on quantum photonics and electronics. He has been collaborating with French researchers for nearly a decade.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity and the honor to deepen and expand the explorations we have begun with some of the world's best scholars and scientists who happen to reside in France," Xu said. “I am hoping we can make some headway in the exploration of spin-momentum locking, single-electron synapses and superconductive phase transitions through joint efforts with French colleagues in the spaces of quantum sensing, neuromorphic computing and quantum simulations.”

The Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award was created in 2005 in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the 19th century French historian and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville’s birth and the 100th anniversary of U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright’s birth. The Fulbright program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State. The award aims to reinforce collaborative research between the United States and France in all fields of study.

Fulbright winners engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often starting research collaborations abroad and laying the groundwork for future partnerships between institutions. Participants share their stories and often become active supporters of international exchange upon returning to their home countries, institutions, labs and classrooms. Afterwards, they often invite foreign scholars to their campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad. 

Fulbright-Tocqueville alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Stephen Porder, a Brown professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and of environment and society, was awarded the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award in 2020.

Xu will begin his work in France in January 2024.