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Unlocking the secrets of the earth

The ancient earth’s history and mysteries are familiar ground to geologist Dr. Alexander Gates, and thanks to Gates, they are becoming familiar ground to his students as well as visitors to The Newark Museum.

Gates’ expertise at making ancient history come alive is on view at the museum’s exhibit, “The Dynamic Earth.” Gates was chief scientific content advisor for the display, and also stars in a video explaining the geological theory of Rodinia, the supercontinent that eventually split into the seven present-day continents. Gates’ research at New York’s Harriman State Park has found rock that matches rock he found in Brazil, which, he argues, was left behind when the supercontinent split apart some 600 million years ago.

His R-N students also benefit from Gates’ skill in unlocking the ancient secrets of the earth, and Rutgers has recognized this fact. The university awarded Gates its highest honor for excellence in the classroom, the Warren I. Susman Award, in 2001. In 2004 Rutgers acknowledged the professor’s “distinguished, uncompensated service that reaches beyond the university community” by awarding Gates the Rutgers College Class of 1962 Presidential Public Service Award.

Gates’ in-depth knowledge of volcanoes and earthquakes made him a logical choice to co-author the Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (now in its third edition) for Facts on File, Inc., one of scores of writings ranging from papers in refereed journals to professional volumes to chapters in field guides.

Gates is currently vice chancellor for research and the project director for the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS-LSAMP), a $5 million, multiple-school program to increase the number of underrepresented minorities studying science, technology, engineering and math in New Jersey colleges.

In 2004, Gates organized a major conference of geoscience teachers from seven states, who gathered on the Newark campus to explore New Jersey’s geological diversity.

Gates was also named to Who's Who in America for 2006.

Gates was featured in Rutgers TV show Breakfast at the Barracks episode 9. View video

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