Visiting lecturer shares his life in physics during public lecture, seminar
A physicist who helped advise President Barack Obama on preparing and inspiring students nationwide in STEM fields will share some of that inspiration at UW-La Crosse in March.
Sylvester James Gates, Jr., a world-renowned theoretical physicist who served on Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, will share his life journey working in physics as part of a UW-La Crosse Public Lecture Series in Physics.
Gates speaks on “A Life in Physics: Collaborations from Snoop Dogg to President Obama” at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in Skogen Auditorium A, 1400 Centennial Hall. A reception starts at 4:30 p.m. in Hall of Nations, 1300 Centennial Hall.
Gates also gives a physics seminar, “Will Evolution and Information Theory Provide the Fundamental of Physics?” at 1 p.m. Friday, March 30, in Hall of Nations, 1300 Centennial Hall. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
The event is sponsored by the UWL Department of Physics, the UWL College of Science and Health and funds made available through the Provost Office’s Visiting Scholar of Color Grant.
This presentation will describe an arc in the mathematical/theoretical physics research of the presenter that has traversed concept spaces from equations, to graphical imagery, to coding theory error-correction, and pointing toward evidence of an evolution-like process possibly having acted on the mathematical laws that describe reality.
About Sylvester James Gates, Jr.
Gates has been featured many times in TV documentary programs such as “The Elegant Universe,” “Einstein’s Big Idea” and “The Hunt for the Higgs.” Most recently, he has started work in the field of forensic science. Gates is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. He has authored more than 200 scientific publications and is the author of the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry, “Superspace.” He holds two bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics, as well as a doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His doctoral thesis was the first at MIT on supersymmetry. He completed his postgraduate studies at both Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).
In 1998, Gates became the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major U.S. research university, the University of Maryland at College Park. He was also the first African American theoretical physicist to receive a National Medal of Science (in 2011) and to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Gates was appointed Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in 2017, and also holds an appointment in the Department of Mathematics. He first joined the Brown community in the fall of 2016 as an inaugural Provost Visiting Professor. Prior to this, he was Distinguished University Professor, University Regents Professor, John H. Toll Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Particle and String Theory at the University of Maryland.
Gates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He also served on the Maryland State Board of Education. As a member of the PCAST, he was co-chair of its working group on STEM pre-eminence for the nation and co-authored a report to President Obama: “Prepare and Inspire K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for America’s Future.”
To learn more about UWL Physics, visit www.uwlax.edu/physics