Philosophical Society of Washington

SUSY and the Lords of the Ring

Supersymmetry Theory

James Gates
University of Maryland

2225th Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8:15 PM


Sylvester James Gates Jr.

The last decade in physics has led to a array of new ideas including one called supersymmetry. SUSY is its shorter name. If valid, Nature may soon begin to reveal the existence of “superpartners,” new forms of matter and energy. Names for such hypothetical objects such as selectrons, squarks, sneutrinos and winos have already been given. What are these objects? How does humanity learn more about them? At the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland nearing completion is a ring that will help rule upon them all. It is called the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Come to this lecture and learn about this Fellowship of the Ring.

About the Author:

Sylvester James Gates, Jr. received two bachelor degrees (one in mathematics and a second in physics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT in 1977. His thesis was the first one written at MIT on the topic of SUSY. He did his postgraduate studies at Harvard University and at the California Institute of Technology.

He was a member of the faculty at MIT from 1982 to 1984 and joined the University of Maryland in 1984. As the John S. Toll Professor in Physics, Gates became the first holder of this endowed chair in 1998. On leave of absence from 1991 to 1993, he served as physics professor and chair of the Physics Department at Howard University. In 2002, Gates also became Director for the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland.

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Physical Society (APS), and the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). He also was the first recipient of the APS Bouchet Award and was a past president of NSBP. He has authored or co-authored over 200 research papers published in scientific journals, co-authored one book and contributed numerous articles in others.

He has been featured on four PBS television programs: “Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America,” “A Science Odyssey,” “The Elegant Universe,” and “Einstein’s Big Idea.” he created “Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality,” a popular-level DvD lecture collection and a book “L’arte della Fisica” both in 2006. In 2007 he was the commencement speaker for the graduates of the astronomy and physics departments at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has received the MIT Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award (1997), the College Science Teacher of the Year of the Washington Academy of Sciences (1999), honorary Ph.D. degrees from Georgetown University (2001) and Loyola University-Chicago (2005), the Klopsteg Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers (2002), delivered the annual Karplus Lecture to the National Science Teacher’s Association (2007) and received the Public Understanding of Science & Technology Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007).

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