S. James Gates Jr., Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has been named to the presidential line of the American Physical Society, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 55,000 physicists in higher education and the physics industry worldwide. Dr. Gates will serve as vice president in 2019, president-elect in 2020, and president in 2021.
Before joining the Brown faculty in May 2017, Dr. Gates served as a professor at the University of Maryland for 33 years. His research interests include theoretical physics, specifically the areas of supersymmetry and supergravity. He has won the National Medal of Science, which is the highest honor bestowed upon American scientists by the U.S. President.
Professor Gates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serves on the board of trustees of Society for Science and the Public, and was a member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President Obama. He is a co-author of the supersymmetry textbook, Superspace or One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry (Addison-Wesley, 1983).
Dr. Gates holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and one in physics, and a Ph.D. in physics all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The University of California Berkeley is naming its newest residence hall in honor of David Blackwell. Dr. Blackwell, an accomplished statistician, was the first African American to be grant tenured at the university. He joined the mathematics department at Berkeley in 1954 and stayed on the faculty there until retiring in 1988. Dr. Blackwell died in 2010.
The new residence hall will house 750 undergraduate students and is expected to be ready to open this fall. Chancellor Carol Christ said that Professor Blackwell is “an exemplar of what Berkeley stands for: scholarly excellence of the highest caliber tied to a mission of social justice and inclusion.”
A native of Illinois, in 1935 Blackwell entered the University of Illinois at the age of 16. By 1941 he had earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics. He then joined the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton but left after one year. Professor Blackwell taught at Southern University and Atlanta University before joining the faculty at Howard University in 1944. At Howard, he became a full professor and chaired the department of mathematics. In 1965 Dr. Blackwell was the first African American to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.
This year the National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members from the United States. While the academy does not release data on the race or ethnicity of its members, after an analysis of the list of new members by JBHE, it appears two of the new members are African Americans.
Scott V. Edwards is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is also the curator of birds for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. A native of Hawaii, Professor Edwards is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Edwards has been on the faculty at Harvard University since 2003.
Jennifer A. Richeson holds the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair in psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She also serves as professor of African American studies at the university. Professor Richeson has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 2005. Previously, she taught at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a non-profit organization in the United States. “Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.” “The National Academy of Sciences charter commits the Academy to provide scientific advice to the government “whenever called upon” by any government department.
As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academy is one of the highest honors in U.S. science.