Jean-Louis Barrat graduated from Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and obtained his PhD from University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris) in 1987. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Technische Universität München in theoretical physics and at the University of California, Santa Barbara in chemical engineering. After six years as a research associate at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), he took a professor position at the University of Lyon, where he created a research group on modeling in materials science, before becoming the head of the Condensed Matter Laboratory from 2007 to 2010. In 2011 he moved to the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Physics at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble.
His research interests cover application of statistical and computer simulations to various aspects of materials science, and he has made seminal contributions to our understanding of complex fluids, plasticity of glasses and amorphous materials in general. Professor Barrat was a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France from 1997 to 2002, and since 2009 has been reappointed as senior member. He was awarded the CNRS Bronze Medal in 1991, the Paul Langevin prize (theoretical physics) of the French Physical Society in 2000, and the CNRS silver medal in 2012. He is the author of about 140 publications in international journals and of a textbook. His current research is supported by an advanced research grant of the European Research Council.