CSU-Pueblo Hosts National Medal Of Science Recipient

March 9, 2015 – A theoretical physicist who received the 2013 National Medal of Science and who frequently appears on the Public Broadcasting System show, Nova, will present two lectures at Colorado State University-Pueblo on Thursday, March 12.

Dr. Jim Gates, known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory, is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, a University of Maryland Regents Professor, and serves on U.S. President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Gates also is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Science.

On February 1, 2013, Gates was a recipient of the National Medal of Science, an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

The 12-member Presidential Committee on the National Medal of Science select award recipients and the program is administered by the National Science Foundation.

Gates will discuss STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and public policy to the campus community and particularly the students in the College of Science and Mathematics beginning at noon on Thursday, March 12 in Chemistry 104. His presentation is titled, “STEM Education, Economic Empowerment, and the American Dream: A Policy Review.”

At 6 p.m. in Hoag Recital Hall, Gates will share his thoughts on the current state of physics with a presentation for the general public, “At the Boundary of Modern Science: Where I Find Myself.”

A recent article in the Washington Post described Gates as a “tireless advocate for getting minorities and girls, who are underrepresented in most science and engineering fields, to pursue these subjects. . .he understands what gets kids interested in science and engineering.”

He has been featured extensively on Nova and other PBS programs on physics, notably “The Elegant Universe”(2003). He completed a DVD series titled Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality (2006) consisting of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to laypeople. Gates also appeared in the BBC Horizon documentary The Hunt for Higgs in 2012. This year, he appeared in another NOVA documentary “Big Bang Machine.”

Gates earned a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His doctoral thesis was the first at MIT on supersymmetry, a proposed extension of spacetime symmetry that relates two basic classes of elementary particles.

Gates co-authored 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 and the Public.

He served as 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 current research focuses on Ainkra symbols as representations of supersymmetric algebras.

The event is sponsored by the CSU-Pueblo College of Science and Mathematics, with support from the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management and the U.S. Department of Education-funded PROPEL Center on campus.