The Rumi Forum presented “Maxwell’s Equations & Darwin’s Finches” with Sylvester James Gates, Jr. , Professor of Physics and Center for String and Particle Theory Director.

Charles Darwin was the creator the Theory of Evolution in biology. James Clerk Maxwell, one of history’s greatest physicists, provided the key link between Newton and Einstein. His contributions were critical in the eventual development of the Theory of the Big Bang and Cosmic Evolution. The religious faith of each felt the impact of their respective scientific efforts. For one it meant an invigoration of his faith while for the other the opposite. Maxwell and Darwin provide contrasting vantage points to investigate questions at the intersection of faith, religion and science.

Sylvester James Gates, Jr. received two bachelor degrees (one in mathematics and a second in physics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT in 1977. His thesis was the first one written at MIT on the topic of SUSY. He did his postgraduate studies at Harvard University and at the California Institute of Technology.

He was a member of the faculty at MIT from 1982 to 1984 and joined the University of Maryland in 1984. As the John S. Toll Professor in Physics, Gates became the first holder of this endowed chair in 1998. On leave of absence from 1991 to 1993, he served as physics professor and chair of the Physics Department at Howard University. In 2002, Gates also became Director for the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland.

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