It is given unto a few men to know what the future holds in all disciplines. So also it is in science. Many distinguished scientists in the early 20th Century, in their far-sighted wisdom and knowledge, made prognostications of possible future breakthroughs in their domain. The result of this was the endless chains of fruitful research directions and a plethora of mind-blowing scientific advances. This is indeed a task the Science Nigeria Lectures 2017 has taken upon itself: to picture what would be of science and the world at large in the next century.
The Science Nigeria Lectures is essentially an effort towards not only promoting the works and contributions of Nigerian scientists, but also in interfacing them with the Nigerian public. The lecture also strives to inculcate the much-needed scientific culture in the lives of Nigerians, and at the same time, generate and sustain interest in the sciences in public domain. Through these lectures, many become aware of the exploits of Nigerian scientists in the global scientific arena.
Professor Aderemi Kuku, world-renowned Professor of Mathematics and currently the President, African Academy of Sciences (the apex scientific academy in Africa), is our guest lecturer. Professor Kuku will be delivering his lecture in June 2017 in four universities in Nigeria, with University of Abuja as the first port of call. Other universities to follow are: University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria) and University of Nigeria (Nsukka).
It has also been said that nature does not change, and that what changes is our perception. Truly, it is only when there is a change in our perception that nature changes. As a very renowned Professor of Mathematics with over 50 years of outstanding research experiences, there are no doubts that Professor Kuku may see things differently. Our question then becomes: What does Professor Kuku see for science in the next 100 years? What lies ahead of science in the foreseeable future? What area of science will thrive, and to what detriment? Will the science of today be the same with that of the next 100 years? These are some of the questions his lecture will address.
One may also wonder why the choice of a mathematician for this year intellectual harvest. In the Science Nigeria Lecture 2015, our great masquerade (guest lecturer), Professor Amagh Nduka, world-renowned Professor of Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics, and former Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, in his lecture said that the science of the past and present has nature in the front-seat and mathematics at the back-seat, but the science of the future has mathematics at the front-seat and nature at the back-seat. This assertion is a bit controversial. But, clearly, there are truths in it.
Mathematics, whether we like it or not, is the mother of all sciences! And our God is the foremost mathematician. Mathematics is the loom upon which He (God) weaved the fabric of the universe. In fact, Physics Nobel Laureate, Paul Dirac, once noted that the abstract mathematics we study now gives us a glimpse of science in the future. His equations, no doubt, predicted the existence of antimatter, which was subsequently discovered. Also, Nikolai Lobachevsky, a mathematician, said that there is no branch of mathematics, however abstract, which may someday not be applied to the phenomena of the real world.
From the above, you will agree with us that there is no better person to handle this topic than Professor Kuku. Professor Kuku is one of Africa’s finest in Mathematics and a world-authority in his chosen area. More so, he has been to the best places in the world where mathematics is done. Although this lecture is not all about mathematics, but we believe that mathematics holds the key to science in the next 100 years. It is on this premise that Professor Kuku has been chosen as the great oracle that will tell us what lies ahead of science in the next 100 years.
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Coordinator, Science Nigeria LecturesAnd Chairman, Global Science Development Initiatives