|Distinguished University Professor, Regents Professor & Director|
Topics: African Americans, Diaspora, Diversity in Science, Higgs Boson, Quarks, STEM, Theoretical Physics, Quantum Mechanics
Why this post matters: Part of the reason for this post and all the others this month is to change perceptions, first in ourselves to think of life and things beyond programmed stereotypes, and for those outside the culture if receptive. I cannot change blatant racism or willful ignorance. I can present information such that it makes it less certain persons "just didn't know" to it's their choice to be uninformed, myopic and bigoted.
You may not work in the semiconductor industry. You may not get a PhD in theoretical physics. A STEM education has one other added benefit beyond just careers: citizenship. You will develop critical thinking and reasoning skills that will allow you to discern fact from "alternative facts" (i.e. lies, obfuscations, malarkey). You be able to pose cogent questions to our nation's representatives: With coal on the decline, why not forge ahead with solar, wind and geothermal jobs? (You can even understand the caveats.) The previous administration tried to pass a jobs training bill for infrastructure: did you oppose it, and why? With 13,950 peer-reviewed papers on Climate Change, only 24 reject it outright: what is your take on the subject? You can and should demand how and where your tax dollars are spent, and ultimately for whose "common good." Showing up at Town Hall meetings for a 1st Amendment "redress of grievances" is your right, but the best argument is always an informed one.
"At the end of the day, observation is what rules our paradigms. And this is a lesson that Einstein claims that Galileo drummed into us, and therefore it makes Galileo the father not only of physics, but of all of science, that observation rules the day. Pure thought alone cannot be the arbiter by which we come to understand nature."
Dr. Sylvester James Gates Jr., quote from the video below.
Bio: Sylvester James Gates Jr. is a Distinguished University Professor, University System of Maryland Regents Professor and John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland. Also an affiliate mathematics professor, Gates is known for his pioneering work in supersymmetry and supergravity, areas closely related to string theory. Gates earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and mathematics and his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1984, Gates co-authored Superspace, or One thousand and one lessons in supersymmetry, the first comprehensive book on supersymmetry, and joined the faculty at Maryland as an associate professor. Four years later, he became the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major U.S. research university.
The author of more than 200 research papers and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Gates has been featured in dozens of video documentaries, including five in 2015. For his contribution to science and research, he received the National Medal of Science from President Obama in 2013. Gates serves on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the National Commission on Forensic Science, and the Maryland State Board of Education. He is a strong advocate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
University of Maryland Department of Physics: Dr. Sylvester J. Gates Jr.