UMCP Physics Professor Sylvester "Jim" Gates Appointed USM Regents Professor

Adelphi, Md. (Jan. 15, 2013) -- Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan has appointed Sylvester James "Jim" Gates to the position of University System of Maryland (USM) Regents Professor. The honor, among the System's most prominent faculty recognitions, recognizes the exceptional academic and research achievements of Gates, a tenured professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).

According to USM Board of Regents policy, "the Regents Professorship is established by the board to recognize one or more faculty members whose record of scholarly achievement and potential for truly exceptional service to the System and its institutions warrants appointment to the most prestigious rank in the University System."

In endorsing his nomination for the appointment, a faculty committee of peers noted three areas of outstanding achievement, in particular: Gates' international recognition for his achievements in the field of physics; service to the university and the citizens of Maryland; and serving as an ambassador for both the university and the field of physics.

"It is one of the true pleasures of my career to be able to honor Professor Gates with this prestigious recognition," Kirwan said. "He is an extraordinary individual, a man who simultaneously has accomplished so much at the highest level of scientific research and yet invested considerable energy in advancing the education for students at any level of their development."

Gates is known for his groundbreaking work in supersymmetry and supergravity, areas closely related to superstring theory. In 1983, he co-authored the seminal book "Superspace or 1001 Lessons in Supersymmetry. He also is widely known for his work popularizing science, promoting the importance of research and science education and enlightening young people on the wonder and opportunities of careers in science and engineering. In 2007, the American Association for the Advancement of Science honored Gates with its Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award.  

"After recovering from my astonishment, I was ecstatic when informed by the chancellor that I have been selected for this recognition.  It is an enormous honor to be appointed a Regents Professor," Gates said.  "I plan to continue to model the excellence of the USM in all venues, pursue unique research directions, and work as broadly as possible with students."

Earlier this month, President Obama named Gates as one of this year's recipients of the National Medal of Science. The National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. This year's 12 Medal of Science and 11 Medal of Technology and Innovation recipients were scheduled to receive their awards at a White House ceremony during the winter.

The appointment of Regents Professor comes with a modest monetary award, which can be used for travel, research or publication costs, or personnel and equipment costs.

"Jim Gates is an incomparable scientific ambassador for his university, state and nation, and richly deserves this honor," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "He combines the accomplishments of a groundbreaking theoretical physicist with the gifts of a captivating educator and mentor. His work stands as an exemplar of the power and wonder of education, science and math."

 When appointed a Regents Professor, the faculty member is asked to take on several duties, including continued participation in the advisement and/or instruction of undergraduate students. The Regents Professor presents annually a public lecture at a USM institution and participates in other scholarly activities that advance the USM and its institutions. These may include curriculum development (formal or informal courses), faculty development, citizen outreach, or organizational enhancement.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719