American Physical Society

Jim Valles - Professor

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Job Info

Brown Universtiy

Position Type:

Job skills:
Complex problem solving
Synthesizing information
Lab or instrumentation skills
Knowledge of physics principles
Data analysis

Jim Valles' Job:
Valles is a professor at Brown University in Rhode Island,  and his primary research involves levitating frog embryos to study the effects of magnetic fields on life.

Valles is able to make these from embryos defy gravity through very strong magnets. He had the idea when speaking with a colleague who made drops of liquid helium float with a magnet,  and who mentioned that water was more magnetic than helium. Valle figured that,  if that was the case,  and if organisms are mostly water,  then organisms should be able to float on a magnetic field as well.

Valles enjoys teaching physics to his students,  and making the concepts easy to follow. "I like understanding something in a clear enough way that I can explain it to others... and if it's something that is brand new,  it's even better." Valles said. "It really has to do with physics things, " he added. "Don't ask me why it's physics. [Other fields] just don't hold the same charm for me. "

Career Facts

Employer Type:

Current Location:
Providence, RI

Physics Degree:

Educational Information

B.A. from Dartmouth College
Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts

More about Jim Valles

Jim Valles' other interests:
When not floating frogs,  Valles enjoys running races and coaching children's soccer.  "It's very humbling to try to learn how to dribble a soccer ball,  and then watch a nine year old learn it much faster than you do. "

Jim Valles' home page:

Direct link to Jim Valles' profile:

Jim Valles


Jim Valles was born in White Plains,  New York,  and studied Physics at Dartmouth College. After earning his B.A.,  he went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has also taught at the University of Oregon. He has three children,  two sons and a daughter.