[00:00.00]Researchers from all over Africa presented their work at the recent Next Einstein Forum conference in Rwanda.
[00:11.03]Conference organizers set up the event to provide support for the development of young scientists across Africa.
[00:21.93]Organizers called it the largest-ever gathering of scientists on the continent.
[00:28.93]South African genetics expert Vinet Coetzee spoke at the meeting.
[00:36.28]She talked about a device to help doctors identify persons with malaria.
[00:43.34]This could be extremely useful in rural areas since the device does not need blood or even laboratory tests.
[00:54.84]Coetzee said the device can provide test results quickly, is not costly and does not require a medical treatment.
[01:05.80]“It can reduce health inequality and bring us one step closer to a world free of malaria,” she added.
[01:16.40]Peter Ngene, a chemistry professor from Nigeria, spoke about nanotechnology: the science of making unimaginably small things.
[01:29.55]Ngene described how he plans to use extremely small devices to store energy from the sun.
[01:38.24]He said, “We can go from a dark continent to a bright continent.”
[01:45.13]Rwandan President Paul Kagame is the current head of the African Union.
[01:52.08]He opened the conference by linking scientific progress to Africa’s development at large.
[02:00.37]Kagame said, “Today, more than ever before…math and science proficiency is a prerequisite for…high-income status and the gains in health and well-being that go along with it.”
[02:18.03]“For too long, Africa has allowed itself to be left behind,” the president added.
[02:25.73]He noted that as the continent aims to compete on the same level as other area of the world, it cannot leave out women and girls.
[02:34.67]Kagame urged Africans not to accept the international custom of men outnumbering women in scientific positions and research.
[02:49.99]Eliane Ubalijoro is a professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
[02:57.47]She noted the large number of women at the conference.
[03:01.99]Africa falls behind the rest of the world in scientific production.
[03:08.38]But research on the continent is growing quickly.
[03:13.14]And a United Nations report showed that some African nations have increased their research and development spending “to the level of a middle-income economy.”
[03:26.31]Three examples are Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali.
[03:32.36]The Next Einstein Forum was launched in 2013.
[03:37.57]The forum now supports 19 African science fellows, along with an Africa Science Week at schools in 30 countries.
[03:48.66]At the meeting last month, the group launched Scientific African, a magazine to publicize new research.
[03:58.08]It is to be published four times a year.
[04:02.56]The forum is a product of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
[04:09.02]The institute provides financial aid for students to earn masters’ degrees in mathematics at centers in Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
[04:25.69]More than 1,500 students from 43 African countries have completed their studies through the program since 2003.
[04:37.15]And 32 percent of them are women.
[04:41.59]The program supporting Africans who study mathematics was the idea of South African-born physicist Neil Turok.
[04:51.97]He grew up as his parents fought apartheid, the country’s former system of racial separation.
[05:00.87]Turok told the conference, “My parents took pride in combatting injustice and they were thrown in jail.
[05:10.57]It was difficult for me personally, but it was good for my studies because I threw myself into my work.”
[05:19.11]Turok gained success in physics and mathematics.
[05:23.76]He worked with Stephen Hawking, taught at Princeton University in the United States and become the director of the Perimeter Institute in Canada.
[05:36.73]The institute is an independent research center for experimental physics.
[05:42.42]His father then urged him to do something for Africa.
[05:47.67]So he set up the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in 2003.
[05:54.42]Ten years later, the Next Einstein Forum was launched.
[06:00.26]Turok said he believes the world’s next Albert Einstein can come from Africa.
[06:07.41]“When Africans enter science in large numbers, with their diversity…and motivation, they will make massive…discoveries,” he suggested.
[06:19.23]“Those discoveries are just waiting there to be made.”
[06:23.55]I’m Pete Musto.