Updates on Jim Sylvester Gates

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Sylvester Gates, Jr. directs the Summer Student Theoretical Physics Research Session (SSTPRS) at the University of Maryland. The annual program offers a summerlong experience for students interested in conducting scientific research.

The SSTPRS traces its beginnings back to 1999, when the idea came to S. James Gates Jr., a Distinguished University Professor and Regents Professor of Physics at UMD known for his pioneering work in supersymmetry and supergravity, areas closely related to string theory.

The goal of the program is not to teach students physics, but rather to allow students to explore areas of theoretical physics and publish refereed journal articles on their research findings. However, as Gates points out, becoming a published author is not guaranteed.

“We engage in real research, so it has all the uncertainty of real research,” said Gates.

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Physicist Dr. Jim Gates makes an appearance in a 30-second TV commercial for TurboTax 2016.

According to the ad, “It doesn’t take a genius to do your taxes. More specifically, it doesn’t take a world-renowned string theorist on the verge of discovering computer codes writ into the very fabric of the universe.”


Professor Jim Gates will be speaking on matters related to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on
Science & Technology and some of its policy statements surrounding Climate Change at The Big History Anthropocene Conference in Sydney, Australia on December 10, 2015.Held at Macquarie University, the conference brings together “leading Australian and international academics and researchers from the natural and social sciences to explore the most pressing issues of our time”. This “transdisciplinary exploration” will cover:

  • Defining the Anthropocene
  • Ecosystems, Boundaries, and Species
  • Economics for the Anthropocene
  • Law and Governance for the Anthropocene
  • Reflections on Paris COP21
  • Climate Change, Health, and Population
  • Humanity’s Long Term Prospects

Prof. Gates serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and on the Maryland State Board of Education. Known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory, Prof. Gates is a member of the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. 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.

Prof. Gates’ lifetime career is in direct opposition to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent comments during oral arguments in a critical case about affirmative action: “Most of the black scientists in this country…come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

 

 

Sylvester Gates, Jr. will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from Memorial University in Canada. The honorary doctorate recognizes extraordinary contributions to society and exceptional intellectual achievement.

The two other honorees are retired Supreme Court Justice and former member of the House of Assembly Robert Wells (honorary doctor of laws degree) and actor Robert Joy (honorary doctor of letters). The doctorates will be awarded at the fall convocation ceremonies in October 2015.

Dr. Gates will receive the degree of doctor of science honoris causa during the 3 p.m. session of fall convocation on Oct. 23, 2015 at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s.

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Jim Gates featured in PBS program series

Dr. Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr. is featured in the PBS program The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements.  Hosted by Michael Emerson, the three-hour series is about the amazing human story behind the Periodic Table. Mystery of Matter covers one of the great adventures in the history of science: the long (and continuing) quest to understand what the world is made of—to identify, understand and organize the basic building blocks of matter. The series airs Monday, October 20, 27, and November 3, 2014 at 10 p.m. on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting). MORE