Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has nominated Dr. Sylvester (Jiim) Gates for a seat on the Maryland State Board of Education.
In making these appointment Governor O’Malley remarked, “I am especially proud to make a number of appointments to fill key leadership positions on our State Board of Education, the University System Board of Regents and the Community Colleges Boards of Trustees to continue the progress we have made in building the No. 1 ranked school system in America, and making college more affordable for our families.”
“Getting our members in position to take on key public policy positions like this one has been a key initiative of the National Society of Black Physicists,” says Dr. Charles McGruder, who was the president of the organization when the initiative started. Jim Gates was the first chair of NSBP’s Public Policy Committee. Since the initiative began several years ago NSBP has conducted several policy briefings on Capitol Hill and at its annual conference.
One particular policy issue that NSBP has been discussing is the opportunity for all students to take a physics class when in high school. High school physics is a gateway course for post-secondary study in science, medicine, and engineering, as well as an essential component in the formation of students’ scientific literacy. Yet, despite reports to the contrary, the availability of physics as a course for high school students is not equitably distributed throughout the United States.
“I intend to bring to my State Board of Education a commitment that a solid science education course, including physics, should be available to all
members of the diverse student population in Maryland,” says Gates.
“We are very excited about Dr. Gates’s appointment, says Dr. Peter Delfyett, current President of NSBP. “NSBP stands by to help him, the Board of Education and the Governor make sure that every child in Maryland has access to a first-class science education.”
The Maryland State Board of Education is a 12-member body appointed by the Governor. Members bring to their task a wide range of professional and civic experiences. Members serve staggered four-year terms and may serve two full terms.
Dr. Gates is a noted theoretical physicist. He has been featured on NOVA PBS programs on physics, most notably “The Elegant Universe” in 2003. He is currently the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Gates received both his Bachelor of Science and PhD degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His doctoral thesis was the first thesis at MIT to deal with supersymmetry, and is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. He was President of the National Society of Black Physicists from 1993-1995.