Prof. Sylvester James Gates, Jr. was educated at MIT receiving two B.S. degrees (1973, math, 1973, physics) and a Ph.D. (1977, physics) having written MIT's first thesis on "supersymmetry," an important topic in modern fundamental theoretical physics. In 1977 he began his research career in mathematical physics Working actively since.In 1989, he became the first John S. Toll Professor of Physics and has authored or co-authored over 160 research papers published in scientific journals, co-authored one book and contributed numerous articles in others.
A fellow of scientific societies (American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society and National Society of Black Physicists), he is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from Georgetown and Loyola/Chicago universities. Dr. Gates has served as a consultant for U.S. government agencies (National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense), corporations (Educational Testing Service, Time-Life Books) and speaks nationally and internationally to diverse audiences on issues of education, development, diversity, research, and physics. This includes a White House commentary before President Clinton and audience.
He has served on numerous committees within his department and college during his career on campus. In 1989, Gates served as the co-author of the campus report "Access is Not Enough" to the UMCP president. Dr. Gates was a member of the 150th Anniversary Planning Committee, the campus Research Committee, the faculty senate, the senate executive committee and the chair of the senate PCC committee. He has been the recipient of UMCP awards as a 2002 Distinguished Scholar- Teacher, 2003 Ethnic Minority Achievement Award, and 2004 University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents' Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring.