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Naija Geniuses ~ Where Are You?

This thread is to showcase fellow Naija that are putting Naija on the map in the field of Sciences, Engineering or in the Medical Field. One can not develop the nation with experts in English Literature/Language, Political Science, Philosophy, European Languages, Divinity, Theology, Islamic Studies and other mundane stuff. You need technological wizards. You need thinkers. If one knows of any other Naija Genius or one in the making, let's showcase it to the world.

Jelani Aliyu is just a tip of the iceberg i.e. one out of many.

Nigerian makes breakthrough in auto design

January 25th, 2007

Jelani Aliyu, a Nigerian, has recorded a major breakthrough in the automotive industry in the US with the design of a state-of-the-art electric car. The car, "Chevy Volt", described by the auto industry as an "American Revolution", was designed by Aliyu, for the world’s largest automaker, General Motors (GM) plant in Detroit.

A statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York by GM, stated: "GM’s most electrifying advanced technology vehicle is the Chevrolet Volt concept, a battery-powered, extended-range electric passenger vehicle.

"It uses a gas engine to create additional electricity. The technology behind the Volt concept, GM’s E-flex System, allows electricity to be produced from gasoline, ethanol, bio-diesel or hydrogen, helping to provide a global solution to diversifying transportation energy sources,’’ it said.

It said that the car was developed by its lead designer "a soft-spoken native of Nigeria and 1994 alumni of CCS, Jelani Aliyu, after a 10-month marathon sprint to bring the Volt to reality’’. NAN reports that CCS is the College for Creative Studies for automobile design in the US, which trains designers for all the automakers in the country.

"The marathon started with tough competition amongst eight designers and their concepts that were developed in two months, with seven of the eight of the model concepts reviewed and eliminated,’’ it noted. Aliyu’s model was selected for development. His design incorporates many design elements to complement the electric technology, driving the car as well as his love of nature and the ergonomics of a vehicle one can enjoy nature in.

Aliyu, who hails from Sokoto State, was born in 1966 in Kaduna and is married with two children. He attended Capital School, and Federal Government College Sokoto, where he received an award as the best student in technical drawing and creative art.

In a telephone interview with NAN from Detroit, Aliyu said: "The Chevy Volt is my concept and design and was last week showcased at a motor show in Detroit and will also feature in another one this week in Washington DC. "I draw a lot and also designed my own cars and even built scale models of them, complete with exteriors and interiors, so that is from where I get my inspiration,’’ he said.

He said that he attended Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, briefly where he initially planned to study architecture, but later got a scholarship from the Sokoto State government to study in the US.

"In 1990 I got admitted into the College for Creative Studies (CCS), Detroit, Michigan, US to study Automobile Design and completed my four-year degree programme in 1994,’’ Aliyu said.

Aliyu also told NAN that he received two awards from Ford Motor Company and Michelin, while still studying.

He began working in GM in 1997 as part of a design team for the Buick Rendezvous, where he served as its lead interior designer before he was transferred to Germany to work at GM’s European division in 1999.

He is now a senior and lead exterior designer at GM headquarters, where he is working on other various GM models, with some of them now on sale in the US, Canada and Europe. The Chevy Volt is, regarded as the hottest concept car in the design line.

http://www.businessdayonline.com/?c=45&a=10828

http://news.africast.com/africastv/article.php?newsID=61045

http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/nvs/nigerian-makes-breakthrough-in-car-design.html

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Why didn't this thread make frontpage? Not too late MODS.

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Behold, West Africa’s most brilliant student

Dele Aderibigbe

Odaro and Rev. Fr. Patrick Ryan, former

president of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja.

Geniuses are rare. Tessy Eneji reports on a young man who is adjudged to be the brightest student in West Africa.

HE is unassuming, with the look of a typical home-

boy. Except for his good looks and good-natured

smile, nothing about Odaro Anthony Omusi appears extraordinary.

But when you draw close and engage him in conversation, you will discover he has an irresistible charm that can keep you glued to him for hours - and then you begin to discern, from his responses to your questions, an exceptional intelligence that makes you to, involuntarily, form the picture of Isaac Newton or even Albert Einstein in the inner recesses of your subconscious mind.

Eighteen-year-old Odaro in 2005, made the country remarkably proud. Through hardwork and determination, he single handedly raised the profile of the nation’s educational sector and thereby restored the nation’s dignity by his resounding success when he made A1 in all of the nine subjects he sat for in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination thus becoming the best 2005 student in the whole of English speaking West Africa where the examination is being conducted.

Odaro Omusi performed this feat at the highly rated Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja. He is due for award by the examination body during a ceremony slated for March 13 in Abuja.

According to his father, WAEC has written to the family that young Odaro is the overall best student in the 2005 examination in the entire english-speaking West Africa.

How did he feel when the news first broke out? Hear him “Initially, I was in a daze. I was pleasantly surprised. But naturally, this feeling soon gave way to a feeling of elation and joy”.

Odaro Omusi was also adjudged the best student in Common Entrance Examination in 1999 and the best overall graduating student of Grace Children School, Gbagada, Lagos that same year.

Now a student of Electrical/Electronics Engineering of the University of Lagos, he also came first at the post - JAMB examination in the whole of his department.

On the secret of his strings of firsts and successes, Odaro enthused “I can’t really place my finger on it. Except that I study hard and do not give room to distractions”. When prodded further, he added “I think one thing I have going for me is the ability to easily grasp what I am taught by my teachers”.

Odaro’s ability for easy comprehension could have been responsible for his dexterity to, as many of his teachers have testified, understand the more complex and complicated questions and proffer answers to them more than the simpler ones.

Amidst the torrents of commendations and eulogies poured on him, Odaro does not lose sight of the contributions of the hardworking and dedicated teachers in the schools he attended: Grace Children School and the Loyola Jesuit College. Of the teachers in Loyola Jesuit College, he said they are the students’ best friends.

While noting that a lot of efforts go into the task of educating the students of the college, he pointed out that the school is based on a number of ideals and curricula that are very rewarding.

Of note, according to the highly cerebral student, is the weekly review session where the teacher sits with the students in an informal setting to do a review of the week. During these fora, students are opportuned to open up and bare their minds on sundry issues and even bottled up emotions, that constitute hindrances to their performance which could be a hostile fellow student or even a teacher. And attempts are made by the school to resolve all such highlighted problems.

Odaro said further that he also benefited immensely from the personal/social education curriculum of the school which teaches the students social skills and how to become good citizens and human beings. He is of the view that the various tests, assignments, and class exercises that are added up to judge students’ performance are such that give room for a fair assessment of the students.

Odaro Omusi’s success story is incomplete without reference to his loving parents, Mr. & Mrs. Felix Omusi. In fact, Odaro’s intelligent mind is traceable to a genetic trait that runs in the family.

Felix Omusi, Odaro’s father bagged a distinction in 1973 WAEC examination at Edo College, Benin City. Given his extraordinary performance, Mr. Omusi got quite a number of scholarship awards to study at the university. But rather than study the traditional science based courses, the older Omusi opted for a less glamorous industrial chemistry.

But due to his versatility, he later ventured into environment protection studies. Today, he is the Managing Consultant of Socon Consulting International, an outfit with concerns in manufacturing, outsourcing technical personnel recruitment and training located at 5, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos.

However, unlike his father, his strongest motivator, Odaro has chosen to take up one of the traditional science based courses. “I’d always had a passion for engineering. I love to do practical things’ Odaro remarked.

The third child in a family of four children, Odaro, a sports lover, holds a brown belt in martial arts. He also plays soccer, handball and basketball. His hobbies include playing video games, and reading novels with bias for espionage, martial arts, adventure and investigation.

http://www.tribune.com.ng/26022007/features.html

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Mathematician Katherine Adebola Okikiolu

Okikiolu comes from a mathematical family, her father is a mathematician and inventor and her mother is a high school mathematics teacher. Her parents met when her father left Nigeria to study mathematics at the same college in England where her mother was studying physics. Her father, George Olatokunbo Okikiolu, has written more mathematics papers than any other Black mathematician.

Okikiolu earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Cambridge University in England before coming to the United States in 1987 to attend graduate school mathematics at UCLA (the University of California, Los Angeles). There, she worked with two mentors, Sun-Yung (Alice) Chang and John Garnett, and was able to solve a problem concerning asymptotics of determinants of Toeplitz operators on the sphere and a conjecture of Peter Jones, characterizing subsets of rectifiable curves in Euclidean n-space. She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA in 1991, and she has been exhibiting first rate mathematical abilties.

After her doctorate, Kate went, in 1993, to Princeton University where she was an Instructor and an Assistant Professor until 1995. From 1995 until 1997 she was a visiting Assistant Professor at MIT. Since 1997, she has been on the faculty in the Mathematics Department of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), first as an Assistant Professor. Also in 1996, Dr. Okikiolu spoke as part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration for Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM). In 2002, she gave the Claytor-Woodard lecture at the NAM meeitng st the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

In June 1997, Kate Okikiolu was the first Black to win the most prestigous award for young mathematics researchers in the United States, a Sloan Research Fellowship. In 1997, UCSD promoted her to Associate Professor. The $70,000 Sloan Fellowship was not her only award of 1997. Here is a press release of the White House October 23, 1997, repeated the next day by the National Science Foundation.

Sixty young researchers have been chosen to receive the second annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The presidential honor is the highest bestowed by the U.S. Government on 60 outstanding young scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who are in the early stages of their independent research careers. The awards, which include a five-year grant of up to $500,000, are made by nine governmental agencies. Twenty of the awards are made through the National Science Foundation. The awards were established by President Clinton in February, 1996, in order to meet the Administration's goals of producing the finest scientists and engineers for the 21st century while maintaining U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific research.

Dr. Okikiolu has been researching the "spectral determinant" of a drum, which is essentially the number obtained by multiplying all the individual sound pitches made from a drum note. This number helps describe the shape of the drum. Although this area is largely understood in two-dimensional drums, Okikiolu is investigating the more challenging spectral determinant problem for three-dimensional drums. In a separate project, Okikiolu also studies linear distortions of drum notes and other types of signals. Research in this area may have implications for problems in quantum physics.

For her work aiding inner-city children, Okikiolu plans to make a series of videos depicting model teaching lessons that emphasize real-world perspectives. Designing model dwellings and bridges, constructing useful articles such as clothing and shelves, mending bicycles and painting pictures are "hands-on" activities that Okikiolu believes can acquaint children with mathematical concepts and help them grasp the significance of numbers and measurements.

Dr. Okikiolu's PECASE video project will now feature inner city kids teaching mathematics. The first video is called "Negative Money'' and teaches children to calculate with negative numbers by using the example of debt. It is really a sort of math cabaret, and features kids from Enterprise School in Compton, CA.

RESEARCH

Research areas: Classical Analysis, Differential Geometry, Partial Differential Equations and Operator Theory.

One of Dr. Okikiolu's areas of research is geometric analysis, particularly the determinant of the Laplacian under smooth perturbations. In addition, she is exploring several fields in mathematics. Her work in elliptical differential operators is considered a major contribution, going well beyond what experts had considered feasible, given the current state of knowledge. The Annals of Mathematics, the publisher of her Critical metrics for the determinant of the Laplacian in odd dimensions, is the best American mathematics journal. Her characterization of subsets of rectifiable curves in Rn , is one of the few foundations of the Fractal Instances of the Traveling Sales Problem.

PUBLICATIONS

1. Okikiolu, K. Critical metrics for the determinant of the Laplacian in odd dimensions. Ann. of Math. (2) 153 (2001), no. 2, 471--531.

2. Okikiolu, Kate High frequency cut-offs, trace formulas and geometry. Spectral problems in geometry and arithmetic (Iowa City, IA, 1997), 107--121, Contemp. Math., 237, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 1999

3. Guillemin, V.; Okikiolu, K. Spectral asymptotics of Toeplitz operators on Zoll manifolds, J. Funct. BehindBased. 146 (1997), no. 2, 496--516.

4. Guillemin, V.; Okikiolu, K. Subprincipal terms in Szegö estimates . Math. Res. Lett. 4 (1997), no. 1, 173--179.

5. Guillemin, V.; Okikiolu, K. Szegö theorems for Zoll operators, Math. Res. Lett. 3 (1996), no. 4, 449--452.

6. Okikiolu, Kate The multiplicative anomaly for determinants of elliptic operators, Duke Math. J. 79 (1995), no. 3, 723--750.

7. Okikiolu, Kate The Campbell-Hausdorff theorem for elliptic operators and a related trace formula, Duke Math. J. 79 (1995), no. 3, 687--722.

8. Okikiolu, Kate The analogue of the strong Szegö limit theorem on the 2- and 3- dimensional spheres, J. Amer. Math. Soc. 9 (1996), no. 2, 345--372.

9. Okikiolu, Kate Characterization of subsets of rectifiable curves in Rn, J. London Math. Soc. (2) 46 (1992), no. 2, 336--348.

http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/PEEPS/okikiolu_katherine.html

[url]http://math.ucsd.edu/~okikiolu/[/url]

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Institute discovers herbal cure for AIDS

From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan

Monday, February 19, 2007

HOPE of a lasting cure to the dreaded HIV/AIDS brightened at the weekend as the Executive Director of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Dr. Solomon Badejo, disclosed that the institute has discovered medicinal plants for the treatment of the disease and other similar ailments.

An elated Badejo disclosed this in Ibadan, Oyo State capital while conducting the Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Helen Esuene round the institute.

The institute's boss listed the scientific breakthroughs recorded by the team of researchers and solicited government's efforts at sustaining the feat.

He explained that the digitisation of African type specimens under the API programme sponsored by the Andrew Melon Foundation, U.S.A, was in progress.

The FRIN boss also informed the minister of the institute's development of the use of sawmill wood wastes - principally sawdust - and wood shavings from sawmills and plant markets, for the production of ceiling boards, floor tiles and wall tiles.

Badejo added that FRIN had established and continue to maintain the largest Forest Herbarium (FHI) in West African with a collection of 107,294 plant specimens inclusive of the documentation of the medicinal uses of some of the plants.

http://odili.net/news/source/2007/feb/19/28.html

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una get time for allo

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Nigerian doctor unveils arthritis drug

From Collins Olayinka, Abuja

Dr Jonathan Obaje, a Nigerian Scientists based in Singapore yesterday in Abuja at the celebration of the 2006 Nigeria Diaspora Day took time to explain the uniqueness of his new drug, Urah Transdermal Glucosamine Cream in the treatment of arthritis.

He said that Osteoarthritis, a debilitating joint disorder is the most common form of arthritis in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent. It is characterised by the breakdown of joint cartilage that may affect any joint in the body, including those of the fingers, hips, knees, lower back and feet.

Obaje, who trained at the Universities of Jos and Ibadan, described the funding of research in the country as 'disheartening'.

He said that he was motivated to go into research on the alternative source of treatment of the disease because of the undue suffering faced by those affected by it and his desire to come up with a drug that could ensure easy movement of bones with little or no side effects.

"Long before now, the treatment of Osteoarthritis has been centred on the use of anti-inflammatory agents. These include the Non Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs). Most of these agents are however associated with gastrointestinal toxicity. They destroy the protective mucus layer on the stomach lining, thereby exposing the patient to the danger of developing stomach ulcers. Furthermore, these agents relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation without stopping the progression of the disease. This treatment method is therefore palliative. Other treatment methods include joint replacement, arthroscopic lavage and debridment, repositioning of bones (osteotomy) and fusing bones," he said.

Faulting the composition of oral preparation of Glucosamine, Obaje pointed out that the preparation comes in the form of acid salts, such as hydrochloride, sulphate and acety Glucosamine with most of the preparations requiring doses as high as 1.5g daily to be taken for a long period to produce any meaningful improvement.

According to him, oral glucosamine is associated with such side effects as nausea, vomiting, heartburn and diarrhea. He said that most of the glucosamine taken orally is digested and used up as carbohydrates and only a minute fraction reach the joints where it is needed, adding that high oral glucosamine is not recommended for diabetic patients.

http://odili.net/news/source/2006/jul/26/25.html

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I agree with you, Raymand.

What's wrong with Emeagwali? I agree that Wikipedia is a top site for research and all but you have to remember that it isn't a peer-reviewed site. . therefore if you disagree with anything, you can go in and edit. So take everything you see there with a pinch of salt.

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Why can we read stuffs like these in front pages of newspapers, instead of the regular junk about who's duping who. . .

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TWELVE years old, JSS 3 Nigerian boy, Nyemahame Allwell Worgu has equalled a record set by another 12 years old Pakistani girl in mastering the Sun's Java program.

BY CHUKS NWANNE

In 2001, the Pakistani girl, Afsah Shafqat ventured into writing Sun's Certified Programmer for Java 2 Platform 1.4 certification exam, a version of Java basically designed for programmers experienced in using the basic syntax and structure of the Java programming language. Afsah did not only pass the exam, but also created a world record as the youngest individual in the whole world to scale through the test. Her younger sister, Afrah Shafqua also toed the same line, earning the same certificate almost the same age with Afsah.

Sun's certification program in Java technology is an industry recognised world-wide program that focuses on critical job roles in software application development and enterprise architecture. The philosophy behind the exam is that certification is central to the learning process as it provides validation of skill sets for specific job roles and also offers a natural progression to support chosen career goals. Afterwards, holders of this certificate have the opportunity of pursuing advanced training and certifications that help enable career growth into more specific job roles valuable to an organisation.

While his mates were still battling with passing their junior WAEC exams, Allwell Worgu, a student of the Nigerian Turkish International College, is worried about the world record kept by the Pakistani 12 years old girl. First, he felt that for a girl of 12 to venture taking the exam, then it becomes a big challenge to the male folk. Secondly, Allwell Worgu strongly believes that "blacks are more intelligent than the white", mentioning Philip Emeagwali, the Anambra State born computer guru as a backup for his view. With these in his mind, the River State native resolved to give the Pakistani girl a fight by enrolling for the same exam earlier this month at the age of 12.

Allwell, who started using computer right from his primary school days, revealed his plans of enrolling for the Java exam to his parents, then his school principal, stating his reasons for the mission.

"When I first heard about Java from my teacher in school, I went home to my father for better understanding, which he explained to me. I informed them (his parents) that I would like to take the exam. When I proved to them that I'm ready for it, they first met with my principal, stating my readiness to enroll. When my school saw that I really knew what I was doing, they told me that its not an easy thing for somebody of my age to do, but since they know I can do it, they said I should continue," he narrates.

You need to see Allwell's reaction when he was asked if he ever thought about the possibility of him failing the Java exam?

"Failure was never an option for me," he replied, explaining that, "there is no big deal in writing the exam. When adults write exams, they have many things in their mind; that's why they always fail. May be those that fail were not ready, especially adults, who will be thinking about their business, their market, money in the bank, their stocks and so on, so they find it difficult to concentrate. As a child, I think its better to write it at this period when I don't have much distractions", Allwell reasoned.

As part of his preparation for the exam, Allwell registered with a private computer school in Lagos as an additional training towards achieving his goal. He was never worried about his status as the youngest in the computer training school- rather he utilised it as an advantage to learn more.

"Since I was with adults, it was very easy because they take me as a unique person, small and smart. They are adults, they don't really need to be taught again, but in life, learning still goes on. Sometimes, they can just give them two books and tell them what to do, whenever they need assistance in the school, they will meet our teacher. Our teacher focuses on me because I'm still a child, the other have grown, so they know how to take care of themselves, it was very easy," he said.

Well, if taking Java tutorials class with adults was easy for Allwell, was writing the proper exam easy too and was there any sign of tension during the process?

"There was no tension, but I prayed before I started. Those that wrote the exam before me told me that their hands were shaking when they were writing the exam, they were just telling me all those stuffs. So, when I got there, I saw the questions, they were very easy, so I just continued writing."

"They were like- this is the youngest person that ever came to this centre to write any exam. I'm sure some of them never thought I was there to write the exam, they thought, may be I came to see somebody. I wrote Java, I don't know what others wrote, because I concentrated on my papers, but I left the hall before a lot of them. I didn't see it as very difficult, I wonder why grown-ups fail the exam," he queried.

At last, the result of the exam, which he took online, on the 10th of this month, at Bi- Trax Axxent, Lekki, Lagos, was finally announced, with Allwell scoring 72 per cent. Out of the total 61 questions, he got 44 answers right, putting himself to the same rank with the 12 years old Pakistani, and also becoming the youngest to hold Sun's Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) in the African continent.

What was his feeling when the result was announced and how did his parents and school management react when they got the news?

"I felt normal, I didn't feel that happy, because the exam was very simple and I was ready for it. My parents were happy with the result, my schoolmates and my principal congratulated me, urging me to keep it up," he informed.

Allwell, who is also part of the six Nigerians to represent the country at the upcoming Computer Olympiad holding in Romania, also bared his mind on issues affecting Nigeria as a nation, urging youths to always take a chance.

"I want to help and encourage people about thing like this, because if they know about them Nigeria will develop. Look at America, look at Britain, what is helping them today, is it not computers? Look at Singapore, this was a poor country, but just because of computers, they are now growing very popular in the world. Nigeria can get to such level if we try; there is no big deal about that."

He smiles, looks at his father and his uncle who was so surprised with some of Allwell's responses during the chat and then continues: "I encourage the young ones to take the exam. Like I was surfing the net recently and I saw a Nigerian who wanted to write the exam and people were discouraging him. They told him that the exam is too difficult, that they have written it more than three times without success. They should try their best and take the exam first. The young ones are the future of tomorrow, so they have more chances of doing those kinds of things," he urged.

Also a small group programming instructor in his school, Allwell recalls that, "Sometimes in my class, they call me over sabi, but I have no problem with that. We have a programming class in school- I'm their teacher, not Java, but other programming. Some of them (students) say that its hard while of them will say that it's easy. Some even have headache after the lessons- I think its not only grown-up that don't really understand the course, but they should put more effort."

However, despite his interest in teaching his classmates, Allwell will never be a teacher in future.

"When I'm teaching my classmates, its like talking to them normally when we are in the class. I hear teachers are poor, especially in Nigeria. Majority of them are very poor. Even when they try to air their opinions on some public issues, government will shun them, just like Soyinka now. I think he (Soyinka) is the only teacher that has been making contributions in Nigeria. Other people that try to talk, they either arrest them or do something to them," he frowned.

Mentioning schools such as Harvard University, Oxford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cambridge University as his possible choices for university education was not the surprise, but he educated his uncle, who objected with his explanation of the current ranking of these schools in science and technology.

"I check the rating overtime on the Internet. MIT use to be the first in science and technology, but now, Cambridge University is currently leading the chart. I think MIT should be the 2nd or 3rd in the ranking. I'm planning to do more programming languages such as developer test, Java, oracle, Microsoft and the rest," he concludes.

http://odili.net/news/source/2007/jan/28/23.html

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Emegwali again? Get your facts straightened out, by exploring other alternative medium for your research. One website that could prove useful to you is wikipedia.

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Wow, these is the kind of news I love to hear! Stories like this should be told in Nigerian schools and Universities so that people can at least have someone to look up to.

Kudos to Aliyu!!!

Philip Emeagwali is another Nigerian pioneer. I'm sure you guys have heard of him and the fiasco that surrounded this legacy. He comes from Nigeria and he invented the worlds fastest computer chip. See http://emeagwali.com

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