Saturday, 14 January 2017

Science Nigeria Lectures: Promoting the Works and Contributions of Nigerian Scientists




There is no gainsaying the fact that there is insufficient conversation between Nigerian scientists and the public, and, as a result, some people have asked, “Is science being studied in Nigeria?” “Are there scientists in Nigeria?” A thousand and one of these
questions will not erase the giant strides by a handful of Nigerians in their forays in sciences. But one thing, of necessity, must be done – and that is to constantly create an interface between Nigerian scientists and the public.

Preeminently outlined in the new National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation in Nigeria is the need to inculcate the culture of science in the public. It is very important to note that this task is not one to be left to the uninitiated, as a man cannot give what he does not have. Only scientists can instill the culture of science in the public! How then will the inculcation of scientific culture in the Nigerian public be if no meeting point exists between Nigerian scientists and the public?

May we be reminded that science is for the service of humanity. Science, also, does not have a direction of its own. It is the society that determines the direction of science. The society funds science. The society also cannot fund what does not interest her. In other words, if the interest of the society does not gravitate to biotechnology, research in this area is underfunded, limps and stalls. It is therefore painfully obvious that the inability of Nigerian scientists to generate and sustain public interest in sciences is the bane of the abysmal development in our science, technology and innovation systems. This has also translated to poor economic growth, as well as a jaundiced perception of Nigerian scientists by the public.

Suffice it to say that all scientific advance, inventions and discoveries, are acts of knowledge creation. And our present world – its economy, industry, environment, agriculture, energy, health, food, military power, communications and so on – is driven by knowledge. The only way to fight poverty, hunger, diseases, natural catastrophes, terrorism, war, and all other evils, is the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Also, we are in a democratic society, and one of the sure lineaments of democracy is liberty. But man’s only true guide to liberty is the advancement and diffusion of knowledge.

It is quite unfortunate that many Nigerian scientists have made discoveries and contributions that never went beyond the journals in which they were published. Many of these advances saw no societal reverberation. In fact, the public do not know them. But scientific advances do not only take place in the laboratory or learned journals – at least, the game-changing ones. They must find their way into the society as a whole, and this transition is an integral part of any scientific advance.

Public lectures have well served in generating interest on issues of diverse interest. They are portals for the dissemination and diffusion of knowledge in any society. The Science Nigeria Lectures is therefore one of our sure ways of not only generating and sustaining the much-needed public interest in the sciences, but also in promoting the works and contribution of Nigerian scientists.

The 2015 lecture came with the theme “Science in the 21st century: What has Changed”, and Professor Amagh Nduka, world-renowned Professor of Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics, and former Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, was the guest lecturer.

May we aware you that Professor Amagh Nduka has made outstanding contributions to science, some of which, have changed science. His recent theories on the structure of nuclei, atoms and molecules; neutrino mass, quantum and four-operator mathematics, fusion energy, and global warming are quite illuminating and challenging. His contributions have indeed opened an intellectual revolution in the 21st century science. The podium was therefore given to him on Wednesday June 17, 2015 at the ETF Hall, University of Abuja to tell the world and the Nigerian public what he has done and how they have changed science in the present century.

We also want to thank everyone that contributed, in one way or the other, to our success in this event. It is our prayer that the Almighty God will richly reward you. Do have a good read.

CHIGOZIE UBANI
Coordinator, Science Nigeria Lectures
And Chairman, Global Science Development Initiatives