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University of Iowa News Release

March 21, 2005

Public Lecture On Superstring Theory Set For March 28

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy Distinguished Public Lecture Series will sponsor a free, public 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, talk in Room W10 of the John Pappajohn Business Building by S. James Gates Jr., professor of physics and director of the Center for Particle and String Theory at the University of Maryland, College Park, on "Why Einstein Would Love Spaghetti in Fundamental Physics."

Gates will discuss superstring theory, a subject especially appropriate in 2005, dubbed "The Year of Physics" in commemoration of Albert Einstein's 1905 publication of three manuscripts establishing new concepts in the laws of physics. Gates notes that Einstein later introduced his unified field theory, the idea that all the laws of physics and all the forces of nature are contained in one master force of nature.

"Just as ice, liquid water and steam are just different manifestations of water, the different forces as we see them are just different phases of this master field. We will explore how this idea has matured 100 years after Einstein's original papers into what is now known at Superstring Theory," Gates says.

Gates received bachelor of science degrees in mathematics and physics in 1973 and a doctorate in physics for studies of elementary particle physics and quantum field theory in 1977, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His thesis on "supersymmetry" was the first devoted to the subject at MIT. He was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows (1977-1980) and held an appointment at Caltech (1980-1982). He served on the MIT faculty (1982-1984) and then became professor at the University of Maryland at College Park (1984-present). In July 1998, he was named the first John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland. He currently serves as president of the National Society of Black Physicists.

He has authored or co-authored over 120 research papers published in scientific journals, co-authored one book and contributed numerous articles to others. In 1994, he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. The Washington Academy of Sciences named him as its 1999 College Science Teacher of the Year.

In conjunction with his presentation, he will be a guest on "Talk of Iowa," WSUI, AM-910, at 10 a.m. Monday, March 28.

The Distinguished Public Lecture Series is aimed at providing an introduction to the frontiers of physics and astronomy for non-specialists, including the general public, and features prominent speakers from the University of Iowa and other institutions.

The next lecture in the series will be Charles Falco, professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona and UA Chair of Condensed Matter Physics, speaking on  "The Science of Optics; The History of Art" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3.

The series is presented by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to participate should contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 319-335-1686 in advance.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,