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The Physics Department's Public Lecture Series in Physics brings to La Crosse internationally-recognized physicists to enlighten students, faculty, and the community on topics of current interest in physics.

James GatesSylvester James Gates, Jr., Ph.D.
Brown University
National Medal of Science Laureate

Professor Gates is a world-renowned theoretical physicist who served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).  He has been featured many times in television documentary programs such as The Elegant Universe, Einstein’s Big Idea, and The Hunt for the Higgs.  Most recently, Professor Gates has started work in the field of forensic science.  He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.  He has authored more than 200 scientific publications and is the author of the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry, Superspace.  He holds two B.S. degrees (mathematics and physics) and a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  His doctoral thesis was the first at MIT to deal with supersymmetry.  He completed his postgraduate studies at both Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). 

In 1998, Professor Gates became the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major U.S. research university (the University of Maryland at College Park) and he was also the first African American theoretical physicist to receive a National Medal of Science (in 2011) and be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.  Professor Gates was appointed Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in 2017, and also holds an appointment in the Department of Mathematics.  He first joined the Brown community in the fall of 2016 as an inaugural Provost Visiting Professor.  Prior to this, he was Distinguished University Professor, University Regents Professor, John H. Toll Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Particle and String Theory at the University of Maryland.

Public Lecture (Open to the Public)
Thursday, March 29, 2018

4:30 p.m.:  Reception - Hall of Nations - 1300 Centennial Hall
5:00 p.m.:  Lecture - Skogen Auditorium - 1400 Centennial Hall
 Topic:  "A Life in Physics:  Collaborations from Snoop Dogg to President Obama"

Physics Seminar (Open to the Public)
Friday, March 30, 2018

1:00 p.m. - Seminar - Hall of Nations - 1300 Centennial Hall
Topic:  "Will Evolution and Information Theory Provide the Fundamental of Physics?"
This presentation will describe an arc in the mathematical/theoretical physics research of the presenter that has traversed concept spaces from equations, to graphical imagery, to coding theory error-correction, and pointing toward evidence of an evolution-like process possibly having acted on the mathematical laws that describe reality.