African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) was developed in 2003 to address the worrisome trends of a growing population of young Africans, a lag in social and health development, Africa’s challenging business environments, poor national governance structures, lack of resource beneficiation and waste of human and natural resources that has limited Africa’s tremendous potential.
The first centre was created by South African-born physicist Neil Turok. He and his supporters are driven to uncover Africa’s Einstein. Neil believes Africa can become a world-leading continent but only if its young people become innovators, using their minds to advance human society and their continent.
To lead the transformation of Africa through innovative scientific training, technical advances and breakthrough discoveries which benefit the whole of society.
To enable Africa’s brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.
AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) came from a proactive plan to spread the concept across the continent into a pan-African network of centers for post graduate education, research and outreach in mathematical sciences in 2008. The program promotes girls and women education with a third of its 560 graduates female with the goal of half by 2023. AIMS will graduate more than triple its current graduates (1,500+) each year by the time it completes all its centres, AIMS has produced 45 graduates from Cameroon. AIMS has four centres (Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa) as of 2014. The network will grow to 15 by 2023 graduating 1,500 math and science specialists annually – uniquely positioned to offer solutions to Africa’s pressing development issues.
Why Mathematical Sciences?
Mathematical sciences’ applications range from modeling and planning for economics, communications, transport, energy and health, to describing the tiniest subatomic particles we know of, like the Higgs boson or indeed the entire cosmos. It underlies every modern technology from plumbing to electricity, to smartphones, to satellites. Yet, it is completely cross-cultural and free to share. Applied math is a foundation for the growth of science, technology and development across Africa.
Cameroon has emerged as an economic leader in Central Africa’s region of nine nations. Its economy at $27.9 billion (USD) grew 4.6 per cent in 2013. That is nearly a quarter (24.5%) of the total GDP of the region with $113.9 billion (USD). Its economy is projected to grow by 4.9 per cent to $30.4 billion (USD) in 2014. It was a logical choice due to its strong economy and stable government.
The Republic of Cameroon recently became the fourth African partner to join the AIMS-NEI with the opening of AIMS Cameroon. Sometimes referred to as “Africa in miniature” because of its geographic and cultural diversity, Cameroon is located in the Central African Region. The nation of 21.7 million is officially bilingual (English and French). It has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa and a literacy rate of 68 per cent.
AIMS-Cameroon operates at a site in Limbe, in the South West region of Cameroon. It is the first institute in the Central Africa sub region and its first class has 36 students from 15 African nations, 12 are women. It was supported by a partnership with the Government of Cameroon and support from the Government of Canada through the International Development Research Centre and the Government of Germany.
AIMS-Cameroon will launch a research center to host resident and visiting researchers in pure and applied mathematical sciences. By establishing partnerships with universities in Cameroon, the new AIMS institute should enrich the local academic community and culture.
AIMS-Cameroon demonstrates that the AIMS-NEI has become a replicable model. The fourth AIMS site and the third to open in three years, AIMS Cameroon demonstrates that the will of African leadership is strong and the model is efficient, transparent, accountable, pan-African and nimble providing quality mathematical sciences education to Africa’s best and brightest.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He was fluent in several languages, and wrote poetry and drama. He is famous for inventing dynamite and the blasting cap, two important innovations for construction and resource extraction. Nobel was also very interested in social and peace-related causes. His interests are reflected in the prize he established. In 1895, Nobel bequeathed in his will that the largest share of his fortune was to be used to create a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace – the Nobel Prizes. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Nobel. Between 1901 and 2013, 561 prizes have been awarded to 876 Nobel Laureates.
The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), a meeting held every four years. The Fields Medal is viewed as the greatest honour a mathematician can receive. The award was established by Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields to recognize outstanding research in mathematics. Fields died in 1932 before the first medal was awarded. There have been 16 medals awarded to 52 recipients.