James S. Brooks Graduate Student Award

The Dr. James S. “Jim” Brooks Graduate Student Award in Materials Science and Engineering has been established in honor of the late Florida State University Physics professor who passed away on September 27, 2014. 


First Annual James S. “Jim” Brooks Graduate Student Award in Materials Science and Engineering

The Brooks Symposium 2017

The Jim Brooks Graduate Student Award in Materials Science and Engineering has established the Brooks Symposium, which is an oral presentation competition for MS&E students.  It will be held in the spring of each year, beginning in 2017.  The talks will be 30 minutes long followed by questions, and will be about the student’s current research.  The following prizes will be awarded: 1st prize $700; 2nd prize $500; 3rd prize $200, 2 additional $50 prizes.

Details about the Symposium

Symposium Date, Time, and Location: Friday March 31, 2017: Tentative time is from 1:30 – 5:00 PM: Room 114 – MRB (Materials Research Building – 2005 Levy Ave., Tallahassee, FL).

Deadline to Submit Application Materials: Friday March 3, 2017 – send application materials listed below to Prof. Irinel Chiorescu (ic@magnet.fsu.edu).

Application Process and Application Materials: Second year or more advanced MS&E students who wish to present at the Brooks Symposium must submit the following items to the Symposium Chair by the deadline given above: (1) a one page summary of the their research work, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) a copy of their academic records for the MS&E degree, and (4) a one page (maximum) recommendation letter from their advisor.

Selection: The Symposium Committee selects up to 5 (five) eligible students and names three (3) eligible judges for the presentations. The judges will be selected from among MS&E faculty. Advisors of presenting students are excluded from the panel of judges.

Judging and Awards: The student presentations will be evaluated on the content, format, clarity, quality of delivery, punctuality, and answers to questions from the judges and audience.  There will be five (5) cash awards: $700 (first prize), $500 (second prize), $200 (third prize) and two prizes of $50 each.


Passion for Science

James Brooks FishingDr. James Brooks was raised in Los Alamos, NM.  He received his bachelors in Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. also in Physics at the University of Oregon. He served as the director of the MagLab's Condensed Matter Science Experimental Program, chair of the Florida State University Physics Department, and was a much-beloved teacher, mentor and friend. Throughout Dr. Brooks’ career he established strong bridges among the Physics Department, the College of Engineering, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. He championed the creation and development of the interdisciplinary graduate-level Materials Science and Engineering program at Florida State University.

“His affiliation with the MagLab and role as a physicist were key components to collaboration and interaction between FSU's main and southwest campuses,” said Sam Huckaba, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  “Jim was a bright, personable, well-rounded scholar with an infectious sense of humor."

Dr. Brooks was tirelessly committed to students and the furtherance of knowledge.  His passion for science was infectious and over the years he mentored countless students, postdocs, and junior faculty.  It was this passion and his ability to draw people together from all over campus and all over the world that led to the establishment of the Materials Science and Engineering program at Florida State University.

Dr. Brooks worked in experimental low temperature and high magnetic field physics for decades. A fellow of the American Physical Society, he pioneered the use of dilution refrigerators in high-field resistive magnets and held the record for doing an experiment in the largest steady state magnetic field (47.8 tesla). He was devoted to educational outreach and to cast-netting for mullet near his Gulf Coast home.

Dr. Brooks's remarkable and productive career is summarized in his lengthy list of publications and other achievements. But a picture of this jovial, giving and passionate scientist is perhaps best drawn by the memories of the many people at the lab whose lives he graced.


Dignity Memorial

View uploaded reminiscences, testimonials, and photos.

Read More

Science Show & Tell Video

Jim was inspired by the harmonic oscillators he found everywhere.

Click Here

Make a Gift

Click below to make a donation to this fundraising effort! 

Donate Here


Make a Contribution to One of the Best and Most Dedicated Mentors

The purpose of the Dr. James S. “Jim” Brooks Graduate Student Award in Materials Science and Engineering is to encourage academically motivated graduate students to seek opportunities within this field of study at Florida State University. Monies can be allocated as a fellowship, stipend supplement, research, or travel award. The recipient(s) chosen for this award must be pursuing their PhD in the interdisciplinary degree program in Materials Science and Engineering at Florida State University and embrace the interdisciplinary nature of that field. 

The award will be administered by the Dean of The Graduate School.  The Dean will appoint a committee of faculty associated with the degree program in Materials Science and Engineering that will be responsible for selecting award recipients.

*** Due to generous contributions of family and friends of Dr. James Brooks, the Dr. James S. “Jim” Brooks Graduate Student Award in Materials Science and Engineering fund has reached the level necessary to be endowed and to make awards to students.  The  fund can still receive gifts to honor Dr. Brooks and thus provide additional support to students.


Colleagues and Students Remember

"I've known Brooks since 1982 when I was a grad student and he was an Assistant Professor at Boston University. We shared the same lab, sliding the magnet back and forth on rails depending on who had magnet time during any given week. Circumstances and personalities cast us as both friends, but also occasional competitors, because he was assigned to host Emilio Mendez, head of the IBM group working on the fractional quantum Hall effect. I was in the Stormer/Tsui (i.e. Bell Labs/Princeton) group. During one of their magnet runs, I was making alterations on our dilution refrigerator. As soon as I powered up the drill, electrical spikes showed up on their data, ruining the mobility of the delicate two-dimensional electron system in their sample for the rest of the day (until they could thermally cycle the sample back to room temperature). Emilio was upset. I felt terrible. It was Brooks who saw the humor and turned things into a teaching moment."
— Greg Boebinger

"Dr. Brooks was the best and the most dedicated mentor I have had. He worked very hard, including the weekends, to make sure we will be successful. He always made sure we had the best environment to excel and be creative. He took us in when we couldn't even use an ohmmeter yet. And his mentorship has made us better than we can ever be all because of him. A lot of us are not the brightest and the most talented, but he can truly see our passion and help us achieve our dreams. His group is always very diverse, yet with his outgoing personality and kindness in his own way, he managed to get his group to be cohesive and have great teamwork. … No words will be enough to describe his positive impacts to people around him. We all will miss him greatly and I regret not having a chance to say thank you to him one more time."
— Eden Stevens

"He was my 'FSU mentor' during my tenure-track years and he was a true mentor, always coming with great advice regarding all sorts of things, research or teaching related. He had quite often an unconventional approach about research methods. You would often wonder how could someone come up with such an idea to deal with quite a complex phenomenon. As a group and department leader, he was dedicated to meaningful changes and he was a very hard-working person. And he was able to do all that while keeping things in a happy perspective, often contagious."
— Irinel Chiorescu

"In the eight years that I've been at the MagLab, a happy moment of any day occurred when I either ran into Jim coming into the lab or, as often happened, we shared email exchanges. Often it was — what wonderful exotic place are you at the moment and are you having fun? In fact fun is what I associate with Jim Brooks. He was a humanist. He made life better."
— David Larbalestier

"Brooks was an enthusiast. He loved the science, the magnets, the quantum oscillations, the Fermi surfaces, but most of all, he loved the young people that he educated, the people whose love for science he helped grow and bloom. Brooks always worked with many people — he was surrounded by students, colleagues, users, visitors. He thrived building this community. I remember him taking his group, every Friday, late in the afternoon, to the golf course cafeteria, for a group meeting over a pitcher of beer and much discussion and many jokes. And it is those jokes - his humor - that will probably reman best remembered by many of us. He often saw the funny side of things, and this helped many of us in times which were not always easy, it helped people see the good side, not only the hard reality of life."
— Vlad Dobrosavljevic

"…[Brooks] sometimes would work together with us [graduate students] during some important magnet time and stayed up until 2:30 a.m., as well. Moreover, after the students worked a long shift until midnight, he would ask if there was anything that he could do to help in the morning, be it running the magnet or cleaning up the cell. This is clearly an ultimate form of teamwork and equality, that he sees us not only as students, but also as partners, as part of a team, as equals, that we're in this together. … Sometimes I disagreed with his views. Of course my views turned out to be wrong, but he gave them some thought, anyway, before he told me why and how they were incorrect. This is also what made him a great scientist and mentor."
— Andhika Kiswandhi