Sylvester James (Jim) Gates, Jr. is currently the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland-College Park. In spring of 2009 he was appointed to serve on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Maryland State Board of Education.
Gates is a theoretical physicist and received two BS and a PhD degree from MIT, the latter in 1977. His thesis was the first at MIT on supersymmetry, part of string theory. In 1983, Gates coauthored Superspace, or One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry, one of two comprehensive text books in the field to this day.
Gates has been featured extensively on many NOVA PBS programs on physics, most notably “The Elegant Universe” in 2003. In 2006, he completed a DVD series “Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality” and a book, The Art of Physics (in Italian). Gates is strongly committed to education. In the summers of 1971 to 1985, he returned to his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, to work with freshmen in the same minority student program by which he had entered that university. He was instrumental in the development of Ph.D. physics programs at Hampton University in Virginia, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.