Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

Physicist and physics professor Sylvester James Gates, Jr. was born on December 15, 1950 in Tampa, Florida to Charlie Engels and Sylvester James Gates, Sr. His father worked for the U.S. Army, causing the family to move many times. Gates had lived in six cities by the time he reached the sixth grade. His parents always stressed the importance of education and his father bought him a Encyclopedia Britannica set when he was just eight years old, sparking his interest in science. Gates graduated from High School in 1969. With the encouragement of his father, Gates applied and was admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his B.S. degrees in mathematics and physics in 1973. Gates remained at MIT for four more years, earning his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1977. His thesis, “Symmetry Principles in Selected Problems of Field Theory,” was the first at MIT to deal with supersymmetry. [+]