Gates Keynote Speaker for Science & Mathematics Week

Published on September 01, 2017

In 2013, American theoretical physicist Sylvester James Gates Jr. stood before President Barack Obama and received the National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, Gates will stand before the Eastern Kentucky University community as he delivers the keynote address for Celebration of Science and Mathematics Week. The lecture, titled “Einstein v. Roberts: Does Diversity Matter in Science?” will mark the second installment in the year-long Chautauqua lecture series focusing on “Transformations.”

The address, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.

Gates became well known in the scientific world in 1977, when his doctoral thesis became the first at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to discuss supersymmetry.

Gates photoThe topic of supersymmetry quickly became one of Gates’ primary research interests, along with supergravity and the superstring theory. In 1984, working with M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek and W. Siegel, Gates co-authored “Superspace,” the first comprehensive book on supersymmetry.

In 2006, he completed the DVD series “Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality for the Teaching Company,” in which he makes complex physics concept accessible to non-physicists.

“Besides being a highly accomplished physicist, Professor Gates has achieved national prominence around issues of diversity and inclusiveness in STEM education,” noted Dr. Tom Otieno, dean of the EKU College of Science.

Gates was recently named a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, only the sixth person to hold the title. He is also a former president of the National Society of Black Physicists and, in 2013, was the first African-American physicist elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

The Gates lecture will be sponsored by EKU College of Science, the Chautauqua Lecture Series, the Diversity Office and the African/African-American Studies Program.

For more information about the Chautauqua lecture series, visit www.chautauqua.eku.eduor contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Erik Liddell at