Xavier Lurton graduated in physics in 1976 (Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest) and received a Ph.D. in applied acoustics in 1979 (Universite du Maine, Le Mans), specializing first in the physics of brass musical instruments. After spending two years of national service as a high-school teacher in the Ivory Coast, he was hired by Thomson-Sintra (the leading French manufacturer in the field of military sonar systems—today Thales Underwater Systems) as an R&D engineer, and specialized in underwater propagation modeling and system performance analysis. In 1989, he joined IFREMER (the French government agency for oceanography) in Brest, where he first participated in various projects in underwater acoustics applied to scientific activities (data transmission, fisheries sonar, ocean tomography, etc.). Over the years, he specialized more specifically in seafloor-mapping sonars, both through his own technical research activity (both in physical modeling and in sonar engineering) and through several development projects with sonar manufacturers (Kongsberg, Reson). In this context, he has participated in tens of technological trial cruises on research vessels. He has been teaching underwater acoustics for 20 years in several French universities, and consequently wrote An Introduction to Underwater Acoustics (Springer), heavily based on his own experience as a teacher. He manages the IFREMER team specialized in underwater acoustics, and has been the Ph.D. advisor of about 15 students.
In 2012, Xavier spent six months as a CCOM Visiting Scholar, working on issues related to sonar reflectivity processing, and bathymetry measurement methods.