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Scientific advisor to US President Barack Obama visits Universidad Andres Bello


Scientific advisor to US President Barack Obama visits Universidad Andres Bello

In January 2011, Dr. James Gates Jr., distinguished MIT physicist and adviser to President Barack Obama, recently participated in a series of academic activities in Chile organized by UNAB. During his visit, Dr. Gates shared his knowledge with an auditorium packed with UNAB students and faculty. In a conference titled "The Quincunx Point," the scientist explained the basic foundation of string theory in which the search for a solution to a problem can lead to a quincunx point. That is, an instance of overlap between subjects which seem as diverse as art, mathematics, music, science and theology.

The methods employed by Dr. Gates are quite illustrative and the lecture showed that research in a field as complicated as physics can occur through boxes, buckets and various geometric shapes that serve as base for different equations. In this regard, UNAB's Vice Rector of Research and Doctoral Programs, Andrés Gomberoff, stressed that "inviting someone like Dr. James Gates Jr. to the university is an honor because he is a truly eminent figure; he not only studies physics from a technical perspective, but applies it to education, management and way of understanding life. He is a great American intellectual and has endeavored to make his scientific research accessible to everyone."

Equations matter

Under the premise that "there are equations that help us understand the universe," Dr. Gates outlined a number of physical problems that have been resolved through bringing together different ways of thinking, binary codes and equations. "It's like Marconi (pioneer in the transmission of radio waves) who realized that electromagnetic energy flies and can transmit messages. These equations, when applied to drawings or various forms, serve to explain various problems. Equations can be used to make useful things for our species," stated Dr. Gates.

Dr. Gates is a consultant on scientific and technological subjects to US President Barack Obama and is known worldwide for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. He has an undergraduate degree and PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was the first doctoral candidate to prepare a thesis at MIT addressing supersymmetry.