S. James Gates, Jr.

University of Maryland, College Park

Primary Section: 13, Physics
Secondary Section: 11, Mathematics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2013)


Sylvester James (Jim) Gates, Jr. (born December 15, 1950), of the University of Maryland and Brown University, served on the U. S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and on the Maryland State Board of Education. He received two BS (mathematics & physics - 1973) and a PhD degree, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. His PhD dissertation was the first at MIT to deal with supersymmetry and was followed by postgraduate works at Harvard University, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  In 1984, with M. T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, W. Siegel, Gates co-authored Superspace, the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry.

Research Interests

The career-long research effort of Prof. S. J. Gates, Jr. has been in a subject known by the term 'supersymmetry,' that began when he wrote MIT's first PhD thesis on the subject in 1977. He continued his research on this subject as a postdoctoral researcher, first at Harvard University (1977-1980) then later at Caltech (1980-1982) which led to the publication of "Superspace: A Thousand and One Lessons on Supersymmetry," co-authored with M. T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, and W. Siegel. This was the first comprehensive book on the subject and is still considered a standard reference in the field more than thirty years later. Throughout this period he has actively published innovative mathematical results that are foundational to the application of supersymmetry to possible descriptions of particle, fields and strings as accurate descriptions of Nature. One of the consistent foci of work has been the development of 'supergeometry' as an efficient tool for quantum calculations in such theories, such as supergravity, super differential forms, efficient definitions of integration on 'supermanifolds,' covariant descriptions of Superstring/M-Theory modifications, and purely four dimensional heterotic superstring models. In the last decade, he has launched new approaches that utilize the tools of graph theory ('adinkras') and the use of self-dual, block-linear error-correcting codes.

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