Sylvester James Gates
University of Maryland
Physicist; Educator; Academic research institution administrator; Government advisor
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Expert on supergravity, an area of theoretical physics dealing with the extension of the General Theory of Relativity to allow for quantum variables in spacetime. Played a prominent role in developing the superspace description of supergravity in four dimensions. Created Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality, a video collection and authored L'arte della Fisica. A second book on superspace (with Grisaru, Rocek and Siegel) is an important reference. Contributed to the understanding of alternative superspace formulations of field theories. His work on supersymmetric sigma models in two dimensions with ordinary and twisted supermultiplets gave one of the starting points for the celebrated theory of mirror symmetry. He worked to improve opportunities for all students, including minorities, in physics. Member, U.S. President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the Maryland State Board of Education. Obtained Fellow status in scientifics societies (American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society and National Society of Black Physicists). Served as a consultant for U.S. government agencies (National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of the Defense), corporations (Educational Testing Services, Time-Life Books) and speaks nationally and internationally to diverse audiences on issues of education, development, diversity, research, and physics. Established a research direction that led to uncovering links between physics, mathematics, art and computer codes.