These are the young African scientists and technologists the world needs to watch out for according to the Next Einstein Forum (NEF)
Even though Africa has produced some of the most innovative and successful scientists throughout the globe, African countries have struggled to retain that talent. A brain drain indeed, African scientists would rather study and practice abroad where there are better resources and more opportunities. Currently, about 40 percent of African scientists are living in European Union (EU) countries.
In 2007, during an African Union (AU) summit, African leaders were advised to allocate one percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development by 2020. They were also encouraged to revive scientific knowledge in their country’s institutions. Presently, African countries are beginning to see the huge potential in the sector, which has a great impact on economic development and growth. A senior research fellow and program head of Inclusive Bioeconomy at African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Kenya, Hailemichael Teshome Demissie, advocates, innovation in 3D technology as a way of defeating the high unemployment rate which has crippled the continent despite claims of growth in other sectors.
While many have called on African leaders to fully embrace and develop the educational sector to reflect science and technology, rising trends in technology in Africa and for Africans show that the development has little to do with government involvement. In October 2015, Nigerian born, Freeman Osonuga became the first black African scheduled to visit space, for the Rising Star programme.
The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) fellows listed below also attest to the depth of talent amongst African scientists. Next Einstein Forum (NEF), an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), has announced the NEF Fellows Class. The 12 individuals, are some of Africa’s top scientists and technologists under 42 years of age. On March 8 to 10, 2016, the NEF Fellows will have the opportunity to present their groundbreaking research at the NEF global gathering in Dakar, Senegal.
According to the CEO of AIMS and chairperson of NEF, Thierry Zomahoun, the discoveries of these individuals, will solve global challenges in health, energy, climate change, agriculture, education, data and cyber security.
Hallowed Olaoluwa Nigerian with a background in Mathematical Physics. He is the first and only student to pursue concurrent mathematics and physics degrees at bachelors and masters level in the Central African Republic (CAR). For his Einstein Challenge, he hopes to provide more answers to questions in quantum ergodicity and quantum chaos, which can inform wider concepts of differentiation, medical imaging and robotics and interception.
Tolu Oni is also from Nigeria, with a background in Public Health/Epidemiology and Urban Health. She is currently working on the co-existence and interaction between chronic infectious and non-infectious diseases, and the impact of the physical and socioeconomic environment on the health profile of populations living in unplanned urban settings. For her Einstein Challenge, she will set up a platform – RICHE (Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE), an interdisciplinary research programme for urban health research in Africa to address urban health inequity and to identify creative strategies to address complex population health and broader societal challenges through a coordinated and inter-sectoral partnership between academia, civil society and government.
Joseph Ben Geloun
Geloun is from Senegal and was awarded the Young Scientist Prize in Mathematical Physics 2015-2017 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in Switzerland. He has a background in Quantum Properties/Mathematical Physics. Geloun wants to determine the generic features of the quantum models that he is investigating are helpful for describing the birth of our space-time and universe for the challenge.
Mouhamed Moustapha Fall
Fall is a Senegalese with a background in Mathematics. Fall believes in the maximum optimization of all aspects of life through mathematics. He developed an application using mathematical modeling to calculate how much Senegalese fisherman can catch today’s fish without devastating the fish stocks of tomorrow. Fall is working at understanding the interplay between non local geometry and relativistic quantum mechanisms (RQM). He also wants to make mathematics accessible to both the educated and illiterate in Africa by demonstrating the practical applicability of mathematics and benefits of optimization.
Gitau is a Kenyan who has a background in Cellular Immunology. She is currently working on a diagnostic tool that uses a molecular approach to quickly and accurately identify children with severe malnutrition who are likely to die of preventable infections. For her Einstein Challenge, she wants to develop cheap, point-of-care diagnostic methods that can better stratify malnourished children, to inform on alternative clinical management for those that remain at risk of death due to infection despite nutritional rehabilitation.
Gueye is from Senegal and has a background in cyber security. He is currently working on a science-based approach to cheap and adequate IT solutions that are good enough for people in the developing world. Gueye wants to improve on cybersecurity for his Einstein Challenge by coming up with fundamental limits and metrics for the security of information and communication systems.
Banadda is a Ugandan native with a background firmly rooted in Bio-processing engineering. This has earned him recognition both in Uganda and around the world. Banadda is ranked 35th globally and 2nd in Africa in waste management research, according to Google scholar rankings. He is published on the mapping of the bioresource potential of Uganda and the role of energy recovery in meeting energy demands and creating jobs, especially for the youth. Banadda wants to create infrastructure value added products from solid bio-waste resources for his Einstein Challenge.
Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala
Marakalala is a South African with a background in Infectious Diseases and Tuberculosis Research, who is currently working on the development of therapeutic and diagnostic tools to fight tuberculosis. For the Einstein Challenge, he wants to discover new therapeutic and diagnostic tools to combat infectious diseases mostly prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. He hopes to contribute towards public dialogues that will help inform better health policies. He also envisions to build capacity in Africa by training PhD students from disadvantaged communities.
Ndifon is from Cameroon with a background in Biological Sciences. Like the Nigerian scholar, Dr. Opeyemi Enoch, Ndifon solved a 70 year old immunological puzzle that changes human understanding compromised immune systems. For his Einstein Challenge, he wants to discover and use the immune system’s organizing principles to develop a probabilistic theory akin to a quantum mechanics that would allow many aspects of the system’s structure and functioning to be deduced from first principles.
Ngonga is a Cameroonian with a background in Big Data and semnatic technologies. He is working on techniques that support the development of intuitive information systems for bio-medicine, agriculture and education that can provide contextually relevant information at low cost, fostering an equal-opportunity data landscape for Africa. For his Einstein research, he wants to create efficient approaches for the time efficient processing of Big Data at low cost that will facilitate the development of intuitive information systems for domains such as bio-medicine, agriculture and education.
Schutte is a South African with a background in Hypertension and heart diseases on the continent. So far, she has made numerous scientific discoveries explaining the significantly increased risk of Africans to develop heart disease. For her Einstein Challenge, she wants to turn around the upward trend in hypertension development in Africa. Also, she intends to find alternate ways to prevent hypertension not only by improving the early detection of disease but also by population wide approaches to significantly reduce risk.
Weldemariam is from Ethiopia, with a background in Computer science and Cognitive Systems for Education and Healthcare. He is currently working on the creation of cognitive, mobile, and analytics technologies to increase student performance. Weldermariam wants to create intelligent systems that will help shape the future of education and healthcare in Africa.