The 2016 winner of the American Institute of Physics’ John Torrence Tate Award for International Leadership in Physics, South African Professor Neil Turok, is donating the US$10,000 cash prize to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (Aims), Aims said on Tuesday.
The donation will be used to initiate an Aims scholarship in the name of Thierry Zomahoun, its president and chief executive, who Turok described as “a street kid who gained three masters degrees” and became an incredible manager and leader.
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is a pan-African network of centres of excellence for postgraduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences. The scholarship will be awarded to an African student taking a masters at one of Aim’s five centres of excellence.
Turok, one of the world’s most renowned physicists, said: “I would like this scholarship to encourage students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, overcome huge obstacles in their personal development, and show outstanding commitment to creating a better future for others.
“Thierry was a street kid who gained three masters degrees and became an incredible manager and development leader. Africa needs more Thierrys!
We are determined to transform Africa into the next global hub for science.
“I can think of no better way to pay tribute to this honour, and to John Torrance Tate (who established the world’s top physics journal), than to support an Aims scholarship in Thierry’s name. I hope this will encourage other donors to follow suit,” added Turok, the founder of Aims and director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
The donation is a token of esteem for the leadership Zomahoun has shown during his five years at Aims, driving the expansion of Aims from one to five centres, with a sixth to open in Rwanda in August.
Zomahoun is also the founder and chairman of the Next Einstein Forum, an Aims initiative. The forum’s meeting in Dakar, in Senegal, in March, which attracted more than 1,000 participants, including top African scientists, policymakers and private sector leaders, was the largest scientific gathering ever held in Africa.
“This is a great honour,” said Zomahoun. “I am humbled by this scholarship in my name.
“We are determined to transform Africa into the next global hub for science. All forms of scientific endeavour and especially those that produce tangible results will be encouraged with the aim being to solve challenges in Africa and around the world.”
Turok’s hope is that the cash prize donation will encourage similar contributions from public, private and non-governmental sources to allow more African youth to benefit from top quality training in mathematical science.
Culled from SABC