Sylvester James Gates, Jr. (born December 15, 1950), known as S. James Gates, Jr, or Jim Gates, is an American theoretical physicist, known for work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. He is currently the Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, a University of Maryland Regents Professor and serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Gates received SB (1973) and PhD (1977) degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His doctoral thesis was the first at MIT on supersymmetry. With M. T. Grisaru, M. Rocek and W. Siegel, Gates coauthored Superspace, or One thousand and one lessons in supersymmetry (1984), the first comprehensive book on supersymmetry.
Gates was nominated by the Department of Energy as one of the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s “Nifty Fifty” Speakers to present his work and career to middle and high school students in October 2010. He is on the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public.
Gates was a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar at MIT (2010-11) and was a Residential Scholar at MIT’s Simmons Hall. He is pursuing ongoing research into string theory, supersymmetry, and supergravity at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. His research focuses on Adinkra symbols as representations of supersymmetric algebras.
On February 1, 2013, Gates was a recipient of the National Medal of Science.