Alumni Spotlight: Dr. James M. LeBeau ’02
Dr. James M. LeBeau is the John Chipman Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating from the Indiana Academy in 2002, he earned his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. During his undergraduate studies, James participated in research that spurred his passion for electron microscopy and materials characterization. He then moved to the University of California Santa Barbara where he earned his Ph.D. in Materials in 2010 by developing and applying new electron microscopy methods to quantify materials atom by atom.
After earning his doctorate, James joined the faculty at North Carolina State University in 2011 as an Assistant Professor. His research program focused on applying and developing (scanning) transmission electron microscopy techniques to determine the atomic structure and chemistry of materials to inform our understanding of relaxor/ferroelectric, mechanical, optical, and quantum properties. In 2019, James moved his group to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. He credits his time spent at the Indiana Academy as being instrumental in developing the skills and focus that have guided him throughout his career.
For his research, James has been honored with numerous awards including the National Science Foundation CAREER award, an Air Force Office of Science Research Young Investigator grant, the Microanalysis Society K.F.J Heinrich award, and recognized as an NC State University University Scholar. Most recently, he was one of seven MIT faculty to receive a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.