Prize Recipient

Sylvester James Gates
University of Maryland


"For his contributions to theoretical high-energy physics. He exemplifies all the qualities required for the APS Visiting Minority Lectureship Award. He has published widely and received international recognition for his research on superstrings and supersymmetry. Professor Gates is known for his skill at communicating the ideas at the frontier of particle physics to a general audience. He has served on many advisory panels, where his wisdom and intelligence are greatly appreciated. As an African-American, he has done much to help attract and retain greater numbers of qualified minorities in science and engineering careers."


S. James Gates, Jr. completed undergraduate education (1969-1973) with a B.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in physics and continued to his doctoral physics degree in 1977 all at M.I.T. He next became a junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows (1977-1980) and a postdoctoral associate at Caltech (1980-1982). His first faculty appointment began in the M.I.T. mathematics department (1982-1984) and ended when he joined physics department at the University of Maryland at College Park. During a two-year leave of absence (1991-1993), he served as the chairman of the physics department at Howard University and as the first director of the Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extra-terrestrial Atmospheres.

His research interest centers on investigations of the mathematical properties and realizations of supersymmetry in quantum and classical theories of particles, fields and strings. He is co-author of one book, 12 book chapters and well over one hundred research papers.

He is a member, charter fellow and past president of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). He is also a member of Sigma Xi and an APS Fellow (1995). Prof. Gates has extensive advisory experience with the NSF (1988-1992) and as a member of HEPAP for DoE. He has also served on the Naval Studies Board and consulted for the DoD, ETS and other organizations.