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25.01.2006 Regional News

Woes Of A Maths Genius

By Daily Guide

A 24-YEAR-OLD former student of Accra Polytechnic, Master Emmanuel Nii Afrah Sackey, who discovered a new formula for solving cubic equation, is at his wits' end, reports Mike Avickson.

This is because the scholarship promised him by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, to further his education abroad, is in jeopardy, at least for now. This was a result of the inability of the legitimate personalities, whom copies of the new formula were submitted to, for their perusal and approval, to give their recommendations.

This has really disheartened the talented young man, who thought he could contribute to the nation's progress, had he gotten the push.

Emmanuel, who spoke to Daily Guide, in an interview said he started research into mathematics, when he was in Wesley Grammar School, Accra and discovered the formula when he was in the Accra Polytechnic.

“After graduating from Accra-Poly, I took the formula, to the Maths and Statistics Department of the school, headed by Mr Stepten Kudadze, and after a careful study by the department, it gave its approval and directed me to the University of Ghana, Legon,” he narrated.

He said, he met Professor D.A. Akyeampong of the University's Mathematics Department, who in company of other two crack mathematicians, scrutinised and became convinced of the validity of the new cubic formula.

Prof. Akyeampong, then directed him to the University College of Education, Winneba, to present it to the Maths Association of Ghana, to have it published in the University's Math Journal.

The man in charge, Dr Kofi Mireku, who is also the head of the Maths Department of the school, expressed enthusiasm about the innovation, and encouraged Emmanuel to further his education, though the formula had not been published in the journal, as he promised.

Emmanuel then, approached the Ministry of Education with his discovery, and sought assistance to study abroad, in order to broaden his scope.

This was after 'Ghanaians Times' has published the news.

Luckily, he was directed to the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Miss Elizabeth Ohene's office. There, he met the Minister's special assistant, Miss Abena Ansaa Adjei (AAA) who also appeared enthused by the young man's unique discovery, and promised to assist him achieve his dreams of studying outside the country. She even recommended Utrecht University to him but Emmanuel, himself felt he could do better at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.

According to him, he went happily to the ministry to announce his choice of school, when the Special assistant told him that they have written three letters to the heads of Maths Department of the University of Ghana and University College of Education Winneba, and the famous and world, renowned mathematician, Professor Allotey, sending copies of the 'Afrahtic Equation' as he called it for their recommendation, but none of them had replied, so there is nothing she could do to help him.

When Miss Abena Ansaa Adjei was called on phone, she confirmed everything, and pointed out as Emmanuel did, that they have not received any recommendation from any of the 'gurus', apart from Professor Allotey, who described Nii Afrah as an enthusiastic boy who must be encouraged. “He is very ambitious, I have had a look at the formula, and spoken to him, it is correct and we must all encourage him”.

But it looks like the encouragement is yet to come to young Nii. Emmanuel Nii Afrah Sackey is a graduate of Accra Polytechnic. He graduated with a second class upper in Mechanical Engineering (Plant Option) in 2003. His first discovery was a mathematical formula for solving cubic equation of degree of three, which he followed up with the recent discovery of another formula, for solving cubic equation of degree of five.

Unlike the old formula, the new formula eliminates the linear term, and maintains the quadratic term. The reduced equation can be factored in both linear and quadratic terms, and it avoids the use of complex numbers at the sticky end, and roots are accurate, and not ballpark.

The visibly-dejected Nii Afrah had this to say, “I don't think all these years of research and toil should be in vain. I will therefore, appeal to the Government, the Minister of Education and all concerned bodies of the Government to encourage and motivate Ghanaians who are doing their best to put this country in the limelight, but not to dampen their spirit, by frustrating them, as I am experiencing now.”