Will the Next Einstein Be a Woman from Cameroon?

Will the Next Einstein Be a Woman from Cameroon?


Mar 13, 2015

This year's Pi Day is particularly special because not only is it 3.14, but it's 3.1415. This only happens once every century! We say that's all the more reason to celebrate brilliant female mathematicians that are contributing solutions to global challenges.

Around the world, women only represent 30% of researchers, but these four women are making a name for themselves and encouraging more girls to get involved in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM fields), particularly in Africa. They all participated in a program called AIMS—the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences—that recruits students from across the continent to participate in a postgrad program taught by international professors. AIMS is building mathematical momentum so the next Einstein might very well be from Africa, and she'll be a brilliant woman.

1. As a lecturer at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Chika Yinka-Banjo inspires students to study computer science. Her research is focused on artificial intelligence and robotics. She's helping develop a model that will guide robots in the pre-safety inspections of underground mines to prevent mine disasters.

2. Her academic accolades are impressive on their own: Hind Ahmed has her honors degree in physics from the University of Khartoum in Sudan, plus a master's in material physics from the University of Capetown and a professional master's in micro/nano electromechanical systems. Today, she's pursuing her PhD in solar energy at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland, where eventually she'll develop new luminescent materials so solar cells can be more efficient.

3. Sylvie Djiomba is studying Ebola at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, modeling the potential impact of media campaigns on the transmission of the disease in African countries in order to better inform affected populations. She believes the next Einstein will come from Africa.

4. Initially, Thifhelimbilu Daphney Singo (pictured above) thought she'd study mathematics, but after studying at AIMS, she realized she would instead concentrate on nuclear physics, earning a PhD in experimental nuclear physics. After she spoke about the importance of her education at TED, Google donated $1 million to AIMS.

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