Sylvester James "Jim" Gates

Gemant Award

For instilling a deep and humanistic love of physics in generations of students, being a steadfast ambassador of science policy and the history of physics, and his persistent dedication to communicating the wonders of the field.

About the Winner

A headshot of Jim Gates, a Black man smiling, wearing a suit, with greying hair.

After earning a PhD at MIT, Sylvester James "Jim" Gates held faculty or visiting faculty positions at the University of Maryland, Howard University, Caltech, Gustavus Adophus College, and Brown University, winning teaching awards from MIT, the American Association of Physics Teachers, Howard University, and Washington Academy. Gates' contributions to documentaries, books, DVD series, network broadcasts, and many other forms of media have made the complex language of physics theories understandable to science students and nonscience minds alike. Beyond the classroom, Gates has taken his message of science-for-all to many groups, including Achieve, Inc. and the Boy Scouts of America STEM National Council. He was awarded the National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., by former President Barack Obama. Gates also served on the AIP Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP) Project to address diversity, equity, and inclusion for African Americans in physics and the physical sciences at the undergraduate level.