‘Ghana has only one mathematician

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Ghana currently has only one pure mathematician, who is about 58 years and may be retiring in the next two years.

In view of this, the National Centre for Mathematical Scientists has appealed to government for support to train more pure scientists to lecture in the country’s universities.

The Chairman of the Board of the Centre, Professor Francis K. A. Allotey, who made the appeal, said it costs $30,000 to train one pure mathematician abroad to the doctorate degree level, but the same amount could be spent to turn out more than 10 mathematicians locally at the centre.

Prof. Allotey, who could not give details about the mathematician except that he is a lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), made the appeal at the opening of the sixth in the series of the Edward Bouchet and Abdus Salam College course on functional analysis and its applications to differential equations in Accra last Monday.

The 10-day course is being organised jointly by the centre and the Society for African Physicists and Mathematicians, with sponsorship from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy and the OPEC Fund for International Development.

It is being attended by 40 university lecturers from nine African countries including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

Prof. Allotey, who is also the Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) said presently, the centre which was set up in 1995, is training 10 students to attain their doctorate degree in pure mathematics adding that within the next two years, they would be able to lecture in mathematics in the country’s universities.

He expressed the hope that when the work of the centre is sustained, it would go a long way to help solve the problem of lack of mathematicians, in the country since mathematics is the basis of science and technology.

The University of Ghana, Legon, currently has four expatriate lecturers in mathematics, he added.

In his address, Professor Charles Chidume, from the ICTP said the sub-region has the requisite capacity to develop mathematics and physics for its development.

He said the centre in Ghana is no longer a national one for Ghana but a focal point for the development of the subject in the sub-region.

Prof. Chidume urged the students to work hard and emulate the good example of the eminent professors from the region, who have set the pace for the development of mathematics.

He appealed to politicians on the continent to spare some funds to train a core of mathematicians to provide the vision needed for the development of the continent.

Earlier in a welcoming address, Professor John H. Amuasi, Executive Secretary of GAEC, said the centre was set up mainly to foster interaction with policy-makers on matters relating to mathematics and its promotion and application.

He said it is also to provide continuing education in mathematics at the pre-tertiary and tertiary levels.

Prof. Amuasi said the centre has also started a masters and doctorate degree programmes in collaboration with the universities of Ghana and Cape Coast and the KNUST.

He commended the centre for steadily achieving its mission of providing research, training and education in mathematical sciences for the staff of the GAEC and young mathematicians, scientists and engineers in Africa.

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