The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. The society honors distinguished scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars, artists, and societal leaders with membership in the society. More than 240 members of the APS have won Nobel prizes. Past members include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Frost, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein. African Americans who have been elected to membership include William T. Coleman, Ruth Simmons, and Toni Morrison.
This year, 35 new members were elected to the society. Of these, 27 are Americans and eight new members are from foreign countries. Of the 27 new American members, only one is an African American.
Sylvester James Gates is the John S. Toll Professor of Physics and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland in College Park. He has taught at the University of Maryland since 1984.
Professor Gates holds bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.