One of Perimeter’s Distinguished Visiting Research Chairs has just been awarded the US National Medal of Science. Supersymmetry expert S. James Gates Jr. was among the 12 scientists to be honoured at the White House on Friday, February 1.
The National Medal of Science recognizes extraordinary knowledge and outstanding contributions in science and engineering. It is considered one of America’s top civic honours.
Gates is the John S. Toll Professor and Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland. He also serves on US President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 2011, Gates became one of Perimeter’s Distinguished Visiting Research Chairs, eminent scientists who make regular, extended research and collaboration visits to the Institute.
The recognition from the White House is as unexpected as it is gratifying, Gates said. “I have been blown away,” he added. “What a nice surprise.”
Gates remembers clearly the day that science came into his life – when his mother took him to see a movie about astronauts, rockets, and space travel when he was four years old and living in Newfoundland. By the time he was eight, fueled by books brought home by his father, he was committed to becoming a scientist.
Today, Gates is one of the world’s leading experts on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.