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May 19, 2013
S. James Gates, Jr.
National Medal of Science Laureate
S. James Gates, Jr. BIO:
Sylvester James Gates, Jr. was born in Tampa, Florida. He received a B.S. in physics and a B.S. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. He gained his Ph. D. in physics from M.I.T. in 1977. He is currently the Regents Professor of Physics with the University System of Maryland. He is also the John S. Toll Professor of Physics and the Director of the University of Maryland’s Center for String and Particle Theory. He is married to Dr. Dianna Abney, and they have two children.

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Info: Our guest is S. James Gates, Jr., a recipient of the National Medal of Science. The award for 2011 was presented by President Obama in a White House ceremony in February of 2013. Dr. Gates discusses the process by which a scientist is nominated and selected for this distinction, which is the highest honor the U.S. government bestows upon scientists. Gates shares memories from his childhood, and details how he came to be interested in studying science as a young student. He shares the story about a PBS Science Now video he appeared in titled, “30 Second Science.” The goal of the video was to attempt to explain the fundamentals of the scientific research of string theory in physics in a thirty second period of time. Gates tells of his continuing dedication to teaching and explains he is now entering his 41st year as a teacher. He currently teaches at the University of Maryland. He talks about the intersection of public policy and science and suggests that without public funding, scientific research would be deeply impacted. He describes how he came to be appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a distinction he describes as “unimagined in his life.”

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