Sylvester James Gates, Jr, Ph.D.
Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, Brown University
Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr., (born December 15, 1950) is an American theoretical physicist.  He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977.  His doctoral thesis was the first thesis at MIT to deal with supersymmetry.  Gates is currently a University System Regents Professor, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Director of the String and Particle Theory Center, Affiliate Professor of Mathematics, and serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and on the Maryland State Board of Education.  He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.  In 1984, working with M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, W. Siegel, Gates co-authorized Superspace, the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry. He is a member of the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public.

Gates has been featured extensively on many NOVA PBS programs on physics, notably “The Elegant Universe” in 2003, and ‘‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’’ in 2011.  In 2006, he completed a DVD series titled Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality for The Teaching Company compos-ed of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to non-physicists.  In 2012, he was named a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, only the sixth person to be so recognized since 1992.  He is past president of the National Society of Black Physicists, and is a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K.  He also is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. On November 16, 2013, Prof. Gates was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University “in recognition of his influential work in supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory, as well as his advocacy for science and science education in the United States and abroad.” President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., at a White House ceremony in 2013.

He currently continues his research in supersymmetry in systems of particles, fields, and strings.