He studied at the Titu Maiorescu high school, in Bucharest (1943 – 1948) and the Athénée Royal d'Ixelles (1948 – 1950). At the ULB (1950 – 1958) he studied chemistry and obtained a PhD in 1958. He started his academic career in 1957 at the ULB as an assistant (with Prof. Ilya Prigogine) at the Service de Physique Théorique et Mathématique. He became a professor at the ULB in 1964. He worked on the statistical physics of charged particles (Bălescu-Lenard collision operator) and on the theory of transport of magnetically confined plasmas. Radu Balescu was involved in the European fusion programme for more than 30 years as a scientist and as the head of research unit of the ULB group in the Euratom-Belgian state Association.